|A Changed Identity|
| Likely you’ve seen the commercial where the elderly lady is removing leaves from her above ground pool, but the voice you hear doesn’t fit her. The piece is using the fear of identity theft to promote a particular credit card company because of their protections against such happening to their users. High-tech thieves are taking the money of unsuspecting individuals without personally entering their homes or lock boxes. By acquiring your account numbers and other personal information they pretend to be you as they blow through your financial resources.
Taking someone else’s place and accessing their resources is a biblical topic—no, not through fraud, but through faith. You and I have received the privilege of being identified with Jesus. As the old hymn says, “I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe.”
More accept that as the grounds of our justification than our sancti-fication. We run the risk of making the same basic mistake of the Galatians. Paul expressed his outrage over their choice to try to live the Christian life from a position of merit: “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”
Salvation doesn’t just begin “by grace through faith,” it is completed “by grace through faith.” Sanctification (the process of becoming holy) is accom-plished when God carries to completion the good work he has begun in us. The resurrection power that raised Jesus from the grave is the same power that transforms us into his image. But we have to beware of the temptation to seize control of our lives and attempt to live up to a human standard of holiness. God has called us to a life of grace, not law.
Our identity as children of God should shape us into spiritually maturing people who progressively become more like the one in whom we live—Jesus. No one can steal his identity, but it has freely been offered to all. With Paul we can say, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
John Kenneth King