If I was to declare that God is more than one, it would be obvious to all Christians how false such a belief is and thus would be rejected. However, if I took a more subtle approach, say, by appealing to your emotional senses, such as fear and happiness, that peace and happiness is found in financial security, I then could lure some Christians into the practice of making money their god (even if they would not acknowledge this in such language).
For sometime a similar phenomenon has been occurring with the use of the term “freedom.” A recent article “Has The Jihadist Movement Temporarily Peaked?” (Outreach to Muslims 12, July/Aug/Sept 2007) suggests that the difference between liberty and tyranny rests within the powers of people, nations, and political structures – in this case, between the West and the Middle East. The article discusses the responsibilities of national leaders in regards to Muslim relations and then states, “Our well-being is wrapped up in the success of their efforts” (p. 6). I contend that this is but one of many examples taking place in our culture that subtly denies part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We would be deeply troubled by any Christian who dared to suggest that our faith allows for two Lords, two salvations, two hopes, etc… But when it comes to “freedom” we have become quite comfortable in declaring the existence of two or more freedoms.
Jesus himself declared the very nature of the good news of God’s kingdom. Quoting from the prophet Isaiah, Jesus described his mission saying:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4.18-19, TNIV)
The very core of the Christian faith believes that all people have become slaves to the evil and sin of a fallen world (tyranny) and are redeemed only by God’s offering of his Son, Jesus on a cross (liberty). The scriptures only know of one freedom which originates from God and has already been made a reality only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Without Jesus we will always be slaves to tyranny. In Jesus we have true liberty. Let’s never forget that the difference between liberty and tyranny is not dependent on the things of this world but instead is holistically dependent upon God who sets us free into a new world that can never be penetrated by tyrannical forces.