Nicholas T. Batzig

Worthy of Worship

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
We worship the one person of the Son of God, who is both God and man. We now worship the Man, Christ Jesus, who is seated on the throne of God, the only Mediator between God and man–even as we will for all of eternity.

A number of years ago, Anna and I were at a concert to see one of our favorite singer-songwriters perform. During the break in between songs, someone in the crowd shouted, “You’re my hero. I worship you, man!” The performer stopped the show and said, “Don’t say that. You don’t know anything about me.” He then proceeded to tell the story about how he once tried to take his own life based on a struggle he has had with deep depression. When he was finished he said, “That’s why I said, don’t say that stuff.” It was a surreal moment. But, it was also quite a telling moment.
Men and women are ready to worship created beings while refusing to worship the living and true God. All of this is in step with what the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:25, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” This should cause us to ask a question about the apropriate object of our worship. To whom do we owe all of our admiration, affection, and allegiance? Who is worthy of our worship? The answer is straightforward. God, and God alone, is worthy of our worship. But, what about God incarnate, Jesus Christ? Can we worship the Man, Christ Jesus?
The Holy Spirit gives us ample amounts of proofs of the deity of Christ in Scripture. The fact that Jesus received worship from men and women–during his earthly ministry–has to be among the most marvelous proof of His divine nature. Four times in Matthew’s Gospel we read, “they…worshiped him” (Matt. 2:11; 14:33; 28:9; and 28:17). There numerous examples of men and women worshiping Jesus throughout the gospel records that help us understand that it is not only acceptable to worship the Man, Christ Jesus–it is right that He receives that worship.
First, when the magi presented their gifts to the child, Jesus, Matthew writes, “going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him” (Matt. 2:11). These Gentile astologers bowed down and worshiped a child. This would be idolatry if He were not “God over all blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5).
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Serving from the Shadows

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
On Judgment Day, our popularity or public accolades will not matter one iota. Rather, what will matter is how faithfully and diligently we sought to use the gifts God has given us for His glory and the edification of His people. 

We have all been conditioned by the celebrity culture in which we live to fall into the trap of believing that truly great Christian ministry should be placarded on a platform and subject to public accolade. This is one reason why so many have given their praises to celebrity pastors in America over the past fifty years. However, it is a yet more subtle evil in our hearts. We can almost unconsciously convince ourselves, “If God has given me gifts for ministry, then others should broadly recognize the gifts God had given me.” This phenomenon is not unique to modern American culture. It dwells deep in the hearts of men and women by nature. We all sinfully love attention and admiration. There is, therefore, a great danger for pastors and congregants alike to turn ministry into a show in order to receive praise from men.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned His disciples about allowing their ambition to drive them to seek the praise of men. He said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:1). Regarding our Lord’s teaching, John Calvin noted,
“In all virtues the entrance of ambition is to be dreaded, and there is no work so laudable, as not to be in many instances corrupted and polluted by it. . .  there is no room to doubt, that the design is, to correct the disease of ambition, when, in doing what is right, we seek glory from men.”1
Seeking the praise of men is an equal opportunity evil. The longing to be recognized and praised in ministry is not only a danger for those who compromise God’s truth in their zeal to accommodate culture. It is far too easy for theological conservatives to raise this criticism about those engaged in virtue signaling on trending social issues. It is much more difficult for all of us to examine ourselves to discover whether or not we have fallen into the same snare of seeking praise from men. We can easily seek the praise and admiration of others for taking a stand for biblical truth in the face of moral deterioration in the society around us. After all, anyone can play to a fan base in the way in which they platform their stance on matters of theological and ethical truth.
This brings us to ask the question, “What is truly great ministry before God?” More often than not, great ministry in a local church is never celebrated or platformed; it is revealed in time spent in God’s word, counseling, and in prayer with the members when they are wandering, sick, hurting, or just carrying on in ordinary tasks of their lives. It is manifest in many unseen acts of service. It is carried out when a man or woman seeks to use the gifts God has given us for the building up on the members of the body of Christ. It is in everyone doing their part and being willing to serve from the shadows.
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Safe From Men’s Prying Eyes

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Thursday, December 23, 2021
The Son of God purchased the Holy Spirit, and His regenerating work, for all those for whom He died. The Spirit now comes and fills the hearts of believers. He forms the Son of God in our hearts, even as He formed the human nature of the Son of God in the womb of the virgin. The end result is that we too become sons and heirs of God. We have new life breathed into us. 

Everybody knows that virgins don’t conceive! Mary certainly knew that. After all, she asked the Angel Gabriel at the announcement that she would conceive and bear a Son, “How can this be, since I do not know a man” (Luke 1:34)? The answer is, of course, the same as that which is given to the question surrounding the mysterious miracle working of God at creation. Here, it is the mysterious miracle working of God in the new creation. “The Holy Spirit…will overshadow you” (Luke 1:25). Just as the Spirit hovered over the waters of creation, so He hovered over the virgin Mary at the great work of bringing about the new creation through the incarnation of the Son of God. The Scriptures are replete with instances in which the Holy Spirit was actively working to foreshadow the new creation in a manner similar to that by which He had worked at the original creation. Consider the following:
Creation
“The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” are some of the first words of Scripture. With each creative word, the Holy Spirit was bringing about what the Father had ordained and the Son had spoken into existence. The Scriptures are clear that the Holy Spirit is the creative agent of the Godhead. Concerning all living things, we read, “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth” (Ps. 104:30). The importance of the Spirit’s role in creation is understood as we consider His role in the work of the new creation.
Typical New Creation
When God destroyed the world with floodwaters (i.e. the undoing of creational blessing), He covered the world with the waters that He had separated when He created the world. With the flood, there was judgment and curse with the same waters from which life and blessing had once emerged. When God had mercy on Noah and those with him in the Ark, He sent a strong wind to blow across the face of the waters. Stephen Dempster makes the following important observation: “Following the flood, which is represented as a return to the pre-creation chaos of Genesis 1:2, a new creation occurs with the presence of the Spirit of God pushing back the primal waters (Gen. 8:1).”1 The Hebrew word for “wind” and ” Spirit” are one and the same–or, at least, have the same root. There is an intentional relation of the wind and the Spirit by our Lord Jesus in His regeneration discourse with Nicodemus in John 3.
The next typical act of re-creation (or new creation) in Scripture is the Exodus. When God brings Israel through the waters of the Red Sea, it is hard for us not to see the similarity of language between the creation account and this great typical act of redemption in the OT. We are told that God caused the waters to blow back by a strong wind . In the same way as the waters were parted at creation, so they were parted at the Exodus. Then, dry land appeared. The Holy Spirit was effecting this typical new creation. Israel coming through the Red Sea, and their enemies being destroyed in the waters (as God’s enemies had been destroyed in the flood water) was a picture of death and resurrection. There were to come through the waters and be a new people to the Lord God.
New Creation
It should not surprise us to find the Spirit at work from the very beginning of our Lord Jesus’ life and ministry. The Spirit was the One who filled Mary, Elizabeth and Zacharias as they prophesied about the Redeemer and His forerunner.
However, the great appeal to the Holy Spirit in the incarnation comes when the Angel Gabriel told Mary that “the Holy Spirit…will overshadow you.” As He hovered over the waters at creation, the flood, the exodus, so now He would come over the womb of the virgin and begin the work of bringing about the new creation through the incarnate Christ.
Sinclair Ferguson captures the relationship between the miracle of creation and the miracle of the incarnation so well when he notes:
“We are meant to be staggered…We tend to pride ourselves that we know this so well; and we say, “It doesn’t stagger me that He was virgin born.” It staggered Joseph that He was virgin born. It staggered Mary that He was virgin born. “She pondered these things.” It staggered Matthew; and, it ought to stagger us. We ought to understand that this is a singularity in the history of the universe, that this is unique, because this is Emmanuel–this is God entering our world. Of course, God has been present working in history, governing history; but what happens here is that He actually becomes part of history.
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Under Pressure

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Wednesday, December 1, 2021
If we are in the habit of thanking God for everything that He gives us, we will continue to thank Him! When we rest on God’s word, care about the needs of others, and continually thank God for His provisions, we can remain calm in the midst of the greatest trials.

How can I remain calm under pressure? This has to be one of the most significant questions we find ourselves asking throughout our lives. What is the secret to pressing through the challenges and trials of life without fretting or being overwhelmed by constant anxiety? The answer is found—at least in part—in what Luke tells us in Acts 27 about Paul’s experience when he was shipwrecked while a prisoner of the Roman army.
Paul had warned, to no avail, that they were going to suffer a tragic loss (Acts 27:10–12). The centurion who was guarding the apostle rejected Paul’s warning about the turbulent voyage. Instead of acting in frustration, Paul rested on the word of God. An angel had revealed to him that God was going to carry him along in his ministry, so that Paul would ultimately stand before Caesar. The Lord had also promised to protect those who were with Paul (vv.21–26). Paul reminded the soldiers and the others on board the ship, “take courage, men, because I believe God that it will be just the way it was told to me” (v.25). When we rest on the word of God in Scripture, we can confidently go through every circumstance of life in which He places us with a calmness. 
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The “Leading” of the Spirit

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
God is committed to conforming His children into holy sons and daughters. In order to do this, He gives us His Spirit to lead us to mortify sin. The leading of the Spirit then is not a special mystical experience reserved for the few, but a present reality for all true believers in Jesus Christ. 

Deep down, we’re all intrigued by the mystical. Many find it to be more “spiritual” if they experience something working powerfully and inexplicably upon them. This, no doubt, is partially the reason why charismatic views of the Holy Spirit prevailed throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There is everything right about wanting to experience more of the power and working of the Holy Spirit, provided we rightly understand the biblical teaching about the power and work of the Spirit. Two of the most frequently misunderstood and wrongly interpreted passages of Scripture with regard to the work of the Spirit are Romans 8:14 and Galatians 5:18: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God,” and “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Many have intimated that these verses speak of a personal, supernatural guidance by which God directs those who are living in a close and intimate relationship with Him. Without in any way wanting to diminish the privilege believers have of living in a close and intimate relationship with the triune God, I do wish to correct misunderstandings about the “leading” of the Spirit in these passages. So, what is the “leading” of the Spirit about which the Apostle speaks?
B.B. Warfield once explained that many misunderstand the concept of being “led by the Spirit” by suggesting that it is referring to “something sporadic, given only on occasion of some special need of supernatural direction.”1 Rather, Warfield insisted, it is “something continuous, affecting all the operations of a Christian man’s activities throughout every moment of his life.” How did Warfield arrive at this conclusion?
When we consider the contexts in which these verses occur, and specifically the context of Romans 8, we will have to conclude that the “leading” of the Spirit is related to our sanctification. Romans 6:1–8:14 forms a pericope about the place of holiness in the lives of believers. Giving consideration to the immediate context, Warfield wrote,
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The Typical–Spiritual Exodus

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
The exodus of Israel from Egypt is to remind us of the anti-typical exodus that Jesus has already accomplished through His death and resurrection. What all mankind needs more than anything is to experience the true exodus from Satan, sin, and death.

The exodus is the great redemptive act of the Old Testament. There is no other act of God that so clearly captures the essence of the redeption that He provides for His people in the Old Testament. Yet, the exodus of Israel out of Egypt was typical of the greater exodus that the people of God have through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
Jesus spoke of His death as “ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ” (His exodus) “ἣν ἤμελλεν πληροῦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ” (which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). As God delivered Israel out of the bondage of Pharoah and the Egyptians, so Jesus redeems His people from Satan, sin, and death. As Israel passed through the Red Sea on the dry land that appeared out of the waters (a picture of new creation), so Jesus brings about a new creation through His atoning sacrifice on the cross, and His resurrection from the dead (2 Cor. 5:17).
The exodus of Israel out of Egypt was typical of the ultimate spiritual exodus believers experience through the redeeming work of Christ; nevertheless, the relationship of the Old and the New Testaments are united in the redemptive purposes of God–from Genesis 3:15 to the fulfillment of all things in Christ. One can err in only seeing Israel’s exodus out of Egypt as a physical deliverance. Geerhardus Vos explained the spiritual nature of Israel’s typical exodus, when he wrote,
“Redemption is here portrayed as before everything else a deliverance from an objective realm of sin and evil. The favorite individualizing and internalizing of sin finds no support here. No people of God can spring into existence without being cut loose from a world opposed to God and to themselves in their very origin. The Egyptian power is in this respect as truly typical as the divine power that wrought the deliverance. Its attitude and activity were shaped with this in view. What held under the Hebrews was not mere political dependence, but harsh bondage. Their condition is represented as a condition of slavery. The Egyptians exploited them for selfish ends regardless of Israel’s own welfare. Ever since, redemption has attached to itself this imagery of enslavement to an alien power. John 8:33-36, as well as Rom. 8:20-21, reach back into these far origins.”
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God’s Love for the Believer is as. . .

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Friday, September 24, 2021
When we consider the enormity of our sins, and our hearts begin to sink under the weight of a sense of the guilt that we have incurred, we must remember the eternal purposes of God in the everlasting covenant of redemption. When we begin to have hard thoughts of God, we must fix our eyes on the cross and see the infinitely beloved Son of God hanging on the tree out of the divine love of the triune God for sinners. 

One of the most challenging trials for believers during our pilgrimage through this dark and fallen world is to truly believe and rest in the love that God has for us. Sinclair Ferguson once noted that the experience of so many believers is the internalizing of the thought, “He loves me, He loves me not.” Many believers lack the assurance of their salvation precisely because they focus on the enormity of their sin to the exclusion of the enormity of the love of God for sinners. God’s love superabounds to the salvation of sinners. So how should we think about the love of God toward us who believe, while we acknowledge the reality of sin in our lives?
Much can be said about the love of God toward His people. Distinctions and categories must be drawn. God has a general love for His creation, a covenantal love for the visible church, and a eternal redeeming love for the elect. Scripture distinguishes between God’s love of complacency and His love of benevolence. Then, there are marks of God’s love. For instance, the author of the Proverbs and the book of Hebrews tells us that God disciplines those He loves (Heb. 12:3–11). Spiritual discipline is a mark of the love of God for His children–not of His just punishment which He reserves for unbelievers. That being said, here are a few of the foundational, biblical truths about the love that God has for His people:
The Bible places the love of God for His people at the foundation of every blessing that God freely bestows on us in Christ. Scripture tells us that the triune God has loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3), that His love “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5), that He demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8), and that “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). The love of God leads Him to adopt believers into His divine family, making us sons and daughters of God (1 John 3:1). The Apostle John (the Apostle of love) summarized the principle of the love of God toward His sinful people, when he wrote, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
The love of God is something upon which we can never meditate too often. It is the bedrock of our Christian continuance in the faith. If we forget the love that God has for us, we will sink under the weight of the guilt of our consciences and our own desire for legal performance. If we lose sight of the love of God, we will live in servile fear of Him, seeking to gain His approval on the basis of our works. So, what are some ways that we can rightly apprehend the security of the love of God for us, sinful though we be?
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God’s Love for the Believer is as. . .

Written by Nicholas T. Batzig |
Friday, September 24, 2021
When we consider the enormity of our sins, and our hearts begin to sink under the weight of a sense of the guilt that we have incurred, we must remember the eternal purposes of God in the everlasting covenant of redemption. When we begin to have hard thoughts of God, we must fix our eyes on the cross and see the infinitely beloved Son of God hanging on the tree out of the divine love of the triune God for sinners. 

One of the most challenging trials for believers during our pilgrimage through this dark and fallen world is to truly believe and rest in the love that God has for us. Sinclair Ferguson once noted that the experience of so many believers is the internalizing of the thought, “He loves me, He loves me not.” Many believers lack the assurance of their salvation precisely because they focus on the enormity of their sin to the exclusion of the enormity of the love of God for sinners. God’s love superabounds to the salvation of sinners. So how should we think about the love of God toward us who believe, while we acknowledge the reality of sin in our lives?
Much can be said about the love of God toward His people. Distinctions and categories must be drawn. God has a general love for His creation, a covenantal love for the visible church, and a eternal redeeming love for the elect. Scripture distinguishes between God’s love of complacency and His love of benevolence. Then, there are marks of God’s love. For instance, the author of the Proverbs and the book of Hebrews tells us that God disciplines those He loves (Heb. 12:3–11). Spiritual discipline is a mark of the love of God for His children–not of His just punishment which He reserves for unbelievers. That being said, here are a few of the foundational, biblical truths about the love that God has for His people:
The Bible places the love of God for His people at the foundation of every blessing that God freely bestows on us in Christ. Scripture tells us that the triune God has loved us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3), that His love “has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5), that He demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8), and that “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). The love of God leads Him to adopt believers into His divine family, making us sons and daughters of God (1 John 3:1). The Apostle John (the Apostle of love) summarized the principle of the love of God toward His sinful people, when he wrote, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
The love of God is something upon which we can never meditate too often. It is the bedrock of our Christian continuance in the faith. If we forget the love that God has for us, we will sink under the weight of the guilt of our consciences and our own desire for legal performance. If we lose sight of the love of God, we will live in servile fear of Him, seeking to gain His approval on the basis of our works. So, what are some ways that we can rightly apprehend the security of the love of God for us, sinful though we be?
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