The Progress of the Pilgrim: The Love that God Hates.  

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)

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.

Christian and Faithful were bad-mouthed and heckled. As pilgrims who marched to the beat of a different drummer, Christian and Faithful looked, dressed, and spoke differently; something to which the townsfolk took great exception. It is interesting that it was, in particular, their speech that caused such offense.

Speaking of holy things always offends, but it had been such holy conversation from poor women in Bedford, England that were the means to bring young John Bunyan to repentance. Consequently, in Bunyan’s story, Christian and Faithful are taken, beaten, and incarcerated; something Bunyan, of course, knew only too well.

They are eventually charged with disturbing the peace of the city by their lack of conformity to the standards of Vanity Fair. Bunyan’s choice of names here is deliciously instructive: Mr. Hate-Good is the Judge, and jurors who include such characters as Mr. Malice, Mr. Love-lust, Mr. Live-loose, Mr. High-mind, Mr. Cruelty, and Mr. Hate-light! If such charges were brought against us, would there be sufficient evidence to convict?

Vanity Fair, or the hostile world system, is under the dominion of Satan (John 5:19; 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). The world is his sphere of influence. In much the same way, the spirit of the antichrist which is coming, is even now, already in the world (I John 4:3) along with many false prophets who have gone out into the world (I John 4:1). Vanity Fair, the world, is an all-inclusive term for all those who belong to the kingdom of darkness and have not been born of God (John 3:1-8; Titus 3:1-5).

The world does not understand the children of God (I John 5:19), just as the world did not, and does not, understand Jesus Christ (I John 3:1-2). Vanity Fair does not understand nor know God the Father (John 17:25).

Therefore, the church and Vanity Fair are in sharp contrast. Biblically, they ought to be. They are two distinct groups. They are two separate groups. The church is under the dominion of God, knows God and is born of God. The other is under the dominion of Satan, who stands condemned (John 12:31; 16:11).

Of which kingdom do we belong? Of which sphere of influence, the church or Vanity Fair, do you belong and are most comfortable?

Soli deo Gloria!

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