15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15–17 (ESV)
“When John Bunyan was a young man, he visited the great fair held a Stourbridge. The Moot Hall, still standing in Bunyan’s hometown in Elstow, was also the scene of much buying and selling in Bunyan’s day. Vanity Fair represents the world and all its activities—the vanity or emptiness of the human life—apart from God. The merchandise offered at the fair includes all the things that unconverted people live for. Since Satan is the god and prince of this world, he is the originator and the director of Vanity Fair, explains Dr. Warren Wiersbe.
Christian, in Bunyan’s allegory, is both a pilgrim on a road-trip to heaven and a warrior in conflict with temptations from within (indwelling sin) and without (the fallen world and the devil). It is a principle that God teaches Christian early in the journey that every believer in Christ can expect to be both fascinated by, and drawn towards, the world. The world refers to the fallen world system which hates God and His followers. (John 15:18-25).
What is meant by the phrase or title Vanity Fair? Vanity Fair, is defined as the “vain and frivolous way of life especially in large cities,” and the “place or scene of vulgarity or empty, idle amusement and frivolity.” It is behavior and activities that are trivial; unimportant, silly and foolish). Vanity Fair represents the world in all its gaudiness, allurement and seduction. It offers merchandise of all kinds; some innocent enough in themselves but designed to misdirect the affections away from the believer in Christ’s love for God and love for His kingdom.
Vanity Fair is also defined as futility, conceit and a desire to be admired for one’s attainments and accomplishments. This behavior is displayed, in part, by immature athletes, self-absorbed actors and self-made social media celebrities.
Believers are the special targets of the Vanity Fair’s hostility. Though “Beelzebub, Apollyon and their Legions” are involved in the allurement of Vanity Fair, they are not center stage here. Rather, the focus is upon the fallen world and its enticements.
Those who refuse to conform to the pattern of this world can expect to be taunted and ridiculed. The believer in Christ can also expect to be disgusted by and attacked when all the world’s offers are spurned. “Hell hath no fury…,” in this case, “like the world scorned.” Jesus said to his disciples “If they (Vanity Fair or the world) persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20).
How does Vanity Fair entice you? What allurements of the fallen, sinful world do you battle? We will continue our examination of Vanity Fair when next we meet.
Soli deo Gloria!