Is it a sin to enjoy the things of this world? I want to be careful here, but not only would I reject this statement, I would often be tempted to argue just the opposite. It may be a sin NOT to enjoy the things of this world.
The misconception we have comes primarily from a misunderstanding of John and how he often uses the word “world”:
1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
The pius, separatists, fundamentalists, monastics ascetics, and well-meaning parents and pastors throughout church history have thought that this basically meant: “Do not enjoy life. Don’t have fun. Don’t laugh. And by all means avoid anything that makes you smile.”
This is not what John means. When John uses the word world he is talking about the world system as corrupted by sin. He is talking about the abuse of all things good. He’s talking about pursuits that neglect the true enjoyment of God’s creation for what sin has made them to be. We are not to love the world’s system as expressed through sins corruption.
However, we are to redeem the world, calling on God’s kingdom here on earth and the restoration of God’s original design.
God shares this world with us. He has given us taste buds to enjoy food, jokes to laugh at, families to watch grow with pleasure and a love life that culminates in the act of sex, bringing ultimate pleasure to our minds.
God loves us to enjoy this world. He wants us to partake and see what great things he has given. And he tells us that one day all the enjoyment this world has to offer will return to its original design.
We long for the coming of God’s restoration because we feel a deep connection to this place and find ultimate pleasure in enjoying all the gifts this world affords. Don’t love the corruption that sin has brought, it is but a mere spoiled version of the real thing!
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