Identity Fraud

The Federal Trade Commission is warning the American public about "identity fraud." It's an up-and-coming crime. A friend of mine has been victimized, and his situation proves that it is no small thing to have your identity stolen.

Criminals use stolen Social Security numbers, birth certificates, and driver's licenses to take over their victim's identities. They apply for credit at dozens of businesses, run up huge tabs, and disappear. In a flash, the person whose identity has been stolen has his or her credit record destroyed.

Victims of such fraud have lost not only their credit accounts, but their jobs. They have had cars repossessed and lost their mortgages. Some have been denied college tuition loans for themselves or their children.

"The case histories that we see are, frankly, frightening," said a member of the FTC. "In some cases, [victims of fraud] have been arrested for crimes committed by the criminal who stole their very identity."

When you think about it, you realize that Jesus has suffered this sort of injustice repeatedly over two thousands of years. People have taken his name and proceeded to be racists, liars, and swindlers. They have acted in his name to bless homosexual unions and marital infidelity. And many of us have insisted we were acting for Jesus while promoting sectarian division within his spiritual body, the church.

By his loving mercy to us, Jesus has offered us an identity exchange. For his part, he took on our identity as enemies of God who were under a death sentence; at the cross, he suffered the penalty we were due. For our part, we have been clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27); in God's eyes, we are credited with his perfect righteousness.

That gracious exchange turns into a fraud crime when some Christian lives to the sinful nature--in sexual immorality, hatred, fits of rage, drunkenness, and the like ( Galatians 5:19-21). Instead, we are meant to embody his joyous, good, faithful, and self-controlled lifestyle ( Galatians 5:22-23).

If you consent to an identity exchange with Christ, mean it. Take His name and lifestyle seriously. Be the person He would be in your situation. Don't turn people against Him by taking His name and living fraudulently. --The Mattituck Christian, S. W. Larkins, editor

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