Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Has anyone stolen your identity?

         One of the fastest growing crimes in the United States is called “identity theft.” With the advent of computers, thieves have found new ways to steal a person’s identity. Once get your personal information, your birth date, social security number, credit card information, they can use them to make charges, buy cars, and take out loans. And, they do it all in your name!
After a couple of months, the collection agencies tract you down to get the money they are owed. That’s when you realize that someone has stolen your identity. They’ve left you with unpaid bills, bad loans and lots of debts. Your credit history is in danger and that’s only the beginning. Now you must begin the work of setting things straight.
When we are born, we obtain our identity as an individual. We are a unique person, unlike anyone else. What makes us unique is not our social security number. It is our personality, our intellect, fingerprints, our DNA, etc. All these things become ours when we are conceived and begin our life as a unique person.
We also come into the world as sinners. As innocent as a child appears, when born, it is a sinful human being. Every person comes into the world with a sinful nature that is passed on from mom and dad. The Bible calls it our Old Adam. It is also referred to as our sinful nature, or simply our ‘flesh’. It’s passed on to us at the time of our conception.  The Psalmist David says it well, “Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) Paul recognized his sinful nature as well. He writes, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.”
When someone agrees to testify against some dangerous or powerful person, the government may put them into the Federal Witness Protection Program. They are given a new name, new identity, moved to a new community to start a new life.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God gives us a new identity. He does it when we come to faith. Paul sums this up in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.”
God gives us a new identity. He adopts us as his child. Showers us with countless blessings and makes us heirs of salvation. He gives us a new identity, one that we could never get on our own.
God has “stolen” your identity and given you a new one. Thank God that he has! Join John in praising God – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!”