The Idolatry of Hedonism – Part 1
Loving Christ is imperative to being saved by Christ. Hence the reason Paul can say, “If anyone has no love for Lord (Christ), let him be accursed.” (1Co 16:22). Loving Christ, however, means living for the glory of Christ as my highest good, goal, priority, and purpose in life – to this end we are saved (2Th 2:13-14; 2Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Phi 1:21). This then is not only “Gospel 101” – what every genuine Christian knows and agreed to in order for Christ to be their Savior (Luk 14:26), but also what confirms Christ to be the God they worship (since He is the One they love, live for and glorify above all else). As such, one of the most important duties that a church and Christian parents can perform is making sure that those Christians under their charge have not replaced their love and worship of Christ w/someone else – most specifically, themselves. This form of idolatry is known as Hedonism – or the worship of self as god (Pro 22:15; Rom 1:21-25). As such it operates by the belief that our highest good, goal, priority, and purpose in life is to seek to the glory of oneself – and that through the pursuit of pleasure (or the avoidance of personal pain). Hedonism has a long history in the bible. The apostle Paul addresses hedonists at Mars Hill and quotes from one of their earliest authors in his chiding of the Corinthians (Act 17:27; 1Co 15:32). Hedonism – or the principle of hedonism, is also alluded to in many of bible’s words/phrases (covetous, folly, flesh, selfish ambition, pleasure, passion, sensuality, lovers of self, lovers of pleasure, appetite, their god is their belly, deceitful desires, glutton, drunkard). Hedonism is a direct attack on the first commandment (Exo 20:3) and (as should be expected) a very serious capital crime (Exo 22:20). Knowing then how to diagnose when a Christian is living for self (pleasure/fun) is key to avoiding/preventing the charge of hedonistic idolatry.