Author Kristen Hatton will be in Birmingham June 22 to teach Gospel truths from her new book Face Time: Your Identity in A Selfie World. She will speak to mothers and daughters at 7 pm at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Kristen is a pastor’s wife, a mother of teens, and a longtime girls’ Bible study leader whose teaching leads girls to apply the truths of the Gospel to every day realities teens face.
The first half of Face Time lays theological background: what does it mean to find one’s identity in Christ? How do big intimidating “church” words like justification and sanctification actually apply to my life? Each chapter concludes with questions for thought, Scripture references and space for journaling, which makes the book ideal for small groups study, mother-daughter time, or personal study.
The second half of the book is a series of chapters telling brief stories about individual girls, each of whom is facing a challenge and needs to know God’s truth. Questions at the end of the story lead the reader to identify where the main character has believed a lie, why she has believed that lie, and what Biblical truth would help her. Kristen then goes a step further in a section she calls “Truth Time,” actually applying God’s Word to the girl’s story. In the process Kristen demonstrates for her readers how to do the same in their own lives.
Following is an excerpt from chapter three, entitled “Look Full In His Wonderful Face:”
In the last chapter, we saw that Jesus, our champion and High Priest, willingly laid aside his glory as God to enter our world and become a man. He experienced everything we go through so that he fully understands our struggles. He lived through it all without sinning so that he could complete the work he came to earth to do: He took our sin to the cross, receiving the judgment we deserved so that God’s wrath against our sin was satisfied. When Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished,” we were able to be reconciled to God and become his children. There is no other friend like Jesus.
These are big theological realities. What we need to get straight is how these gospel truths impact you on a daily basis. Because Jesus was perfect, God sees anyone who trusts in Christ as Savior as perfect too. He no longer holds your sin against you—it’s been paid for and forgiven. You are washed clean spiritually and you can stand before God without fear of accusation or condemnation. Everything good about him is now good about you.
This is what it means to be declared justified, or right with God. This is the doctrine of justification, a theological term not used as often as it should be, since it is a key gospel component to understanding who you are as a believer in Christ. Being united to Christ is where your infinite value comes from. This is where you get your true identity and the security that no one can take away from you.
“For our sake he [God the Father] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Do you believe this?
Do you believe God loves you just as he loves his own Son?
Do you believe that even when you sin miserably, he still views you as perfect because you belong to Jesus?
If you can’t say yes to these questions, don’t beat yourself up for doubting. Even as Christians, we struggle (at least at times) to believe that God loves us unconditionally. And even if we really want to believe it is true, our feelings and experiences make it hard. To get a better sense as to why justification matters so much for the way you live your life, let’s try to unpack this big truth practically.
Let’s say you are with a group of friends and the conversation turns to gossip about a classmate. Even though you really like the girl being talked about, you go along with what the others are saying. Instead of speaking up in her defense or changing the topic, you contribute a bit to the story. Later in the day, this particular girl offers to help you with the algebra you don’t understand, and you are guilt-ridden. The fact that she is being so kind while you slandered her makes it worse. You feel awful about your failure to stand up for her, so now you feel like you need to make it up to her and to God by doing something extra.
What in the world does justification have to do with this?
Everything! Here is the logic. Because you failed to be a good friend, you don’t feel like you deserve her help and kindness. And the truth is, you don’t! You also think that because you didn’t measure up to the way God wanted you to act, you have to make up for it by working harder and doing more to be a “good” Christian. The problem with this way of thinking is that you are basing your “justification”—your security and identity in Christ—on your own performance, on how well you are doing, instead of who Jesus is and what he has done for you.
If Jesus has paid for your sin and declared you righteous, then even your sin does not spoil his view of you. God still views you as righteous and perfect because Jesus was righteous and perfect for you. In every other way you fail, he succeeded perfectly, for you. This is what is so amazing about his grace!
He fulfilled them for us because no matter how “good” we try to be, we can never escape our sinful nature on our own. The fact that God views us according to Jesus’s perfect record is unbelievable mercy and grace. It is when we get grace in this way—when we really see what Jesus did for us, despite our continual sin—that you want to glorify and obey him in all that you do.
So instead of feeling like you have the freedom to sin because he will forgive you anyway, you will grow to see more of your sin and to hate it. Seeing your sin is a good thing. I know that seems like an odd thing to say, but the more you see your sin, the more you know you need Jesus and the more you will live a life of repentance.
We hope you’ll join Created For A Purpose and Rooted Ministry in welcoming Kristen on Thursday June 22!