I saw a movie on television recently about a woman who was the victim of identity theft. Someone had opened various accounts in her name and charged thousands of dollars. Now anyone with common sense would know that this sort of thing is illegal; and anyone who engages in such activity will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. You see, unless you have the “authority,” it is wrong for you to do something in another person’s name.
I dare say that most people would not sit quietly while someone else made illegal purchases in their name. Yet it amazes me that so many people don’t seem to
mind doing things without authority when it comes to the Bible. This is a bit of a double standard, is it not? How do you think the Lord feels when things are done in His name that He did not authorize? Such activity is illegal (Matt. 7:21-23).
In Colossians 3:17 Paul said, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” The expression, “In the name of the Lord” means “by His authority.” It does not mean that we can do anything we feel is right, as long as we do it in the Lord’s name. (Could not murderers, thieves, etc. use the same argument?) To do a thing “in the name of the Lord” is to do it based on what He has already authorized. Even the Lord’s opposition
understood that “in the name of” indicated a need for authority (Matt. 21:23-27; Acts 4:7, 10).
When a person or even a church does something that Christ has not authorized it is sin. King Saul acted without divine authority, and so God rejected him as king (1 Sam. 15:1-23). Moses acted without authority and it cost him entrance into the Promised
Land (Num. 20:7-12). Nadab and Abihu acted without authority and it cost them their lives (Lev. 10: 1-2). Their examples are a warning to us (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1-12).
Religiously speaking, our Lord is definitely a victim of identity theft (various man-made doctrines, unwarranted worship practices, and unscriptural hierarchies are evidence to this fact). Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do
the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46). A check without a signature is invalid. Friends, where is Christ’s authorizing signature for the things you do in His name?