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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Identity Theft

I read recently about a manhunt for an identity thief in Canada. The police said he had victimized over 100 people.

“When you consider the type of stuff that comes in the mail, it can be Visa information, bank statements, a store credit card,” said police spokeswoman Karen Carlson. “The amount of people affected is numerous in this case.”

Finally, 25-year-old David Shawn Tidman was arrested on 141 outstanding warrants.

All of this reminded me of something I had read from the pen of Diane Neal Matthews that really made me think. She noted that in 1998, congress’ law went into effect making identity theft a federal crime in the United States.

The law makes sense, especially in light of the David Shawn Tidman case. When one takes another’s identity, he can also take another’s assets.

What if, however, someone took on another’s identity, and, in doing so, took on his liabilities? In a sense, that is what Jesus did. Anticipating Jesus, Isaiah writes:

Surely he took up our infirmities 
and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted (Is. 53:4,).

Paul places emphasis on the atoning work of Jesus in Romans 3:21-25. The wrath of the Father was poured upon the Son when He was on the cross, in a sense, carrying our identity. Paul’s thoughts echoed what Isaiah had anticipated:

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Is. 53:5-6,).

Yet again, I see in Jesus the antithesis of the fallen human nature. Only a loving, selfless God would take on our sin. I guess this would be one time when “taking” is good.

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