Summary: Understanding yourself as you move to a more understanding of who God is. Freedom without love can cause weaker Christians to fall.
To understand the Scripture we have to understand what was going on within it. In those days the pagan religions sacrificed to their gods similar to what the Jews did. After the religious ceremony was over they would sell the meat to local food establishments. They would then sell it to customers. Another aspect and speaking generally about pagan religions, the more of the food eaten the more of that god they received inside them. So it was that weak conscience that they had to overcome even through they were Christian.
We have three things going on in this Scripture. First, we have someone that thinks they have all the knowledge of Freedom they need in Christ. Second, we have someone that is weak in their knowledge of Freedom in Christ. Thirdly, according to the Apostle Paul they both have a problem.
The word knowledge in this text has the meaning of a deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of what God is and what this Christian religion is about.
The word in verse 2, know, means: to perceive with /by any of the senses. Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Today scientists break them down even more into 21 different senses. Any way we break them down they are human senses and have influences on who we are, what we do, how we feel about things and how we live our life.
These senses affect our conscience in ways that we don't normally think. For most of us a plate of Maggots isn't considered food to be enjoyed. But in many cultures they are good and they enjoy them. Escargot, snails, is another one to consider. In France they eat horse meat like we eat a big juicy beef steak.
I can remember, as some of you can, when cremation of the human body after death was a horrible thing. Just the though of it would make them cringe. I remember people quoting Scripture against it. As our understanding of matter, nothing is ever destroyed but only changed, was introduced we realized that fire turning to dust or time turning to dust was about the same. We grew in our thinking. We understood more about it. We moved away from misunderstanding Scripture about it. Many primitive cultures had used fire to move the dead into the other world. Now for most people its just another way of burial today. Our conscience has change because of a better understanding of life, death, body and Gods meaning to life and death and eternity things.
All our senses can bring back our past emotions or new emotions or emotions of the future. Our past emotions can effect our new emotions either for good or for bad as we see in our Scripture today.
Our conscience is a file of our life and our senses we have felt. These are turned into emotions that can influence our present and future. When we try to decipher these hieroglyphics (these hard to read pictures in the recesses of our minds) we sometime get confused about things and especially Godly things that only he can teach us.
Apostle Paul brings God into the conversation in verse 3. Paul is saying: Its when we Know God that God will teach the deeper things of Knowledge from His point of view. So those mind etchings, the silhouettes that are sketches on our conscience can most times make it hard to decipher the God meanings. All those emotions mixed with our perceptions of what has happened to us can cause the wrong understandings. What we have been taught directly or indirectly can interfere with our Godliness and how God thinks. Deciphering conscience with all that’s going on in our mind and life is hard. Spending time with God is the only way to know who God is and what God thinks about something; time in Scripture, Study and meditation with God.
ILLUSTATION: pilot vertigo: My Division Officer in the Navy was also a Naval aviator. On his way home from a mission over Afghanistan he got vertigo (a dizzy confused state of mind caused by the inner ear). His senses were confused. The biggest was his sense of flight. Which can be deadly when landing on an aircraft carrier deck in the middle of the Persian Gulf. He though his plane was flying up right but when he looked at the instruments he was flying upside down. Everything he did was backward according to the instruments but in his mind they were correct.
He could follow what he though was right or he could depend on the instruments. According to him over riding what he felt was right was the hardest thing to do. The struggle that took place in his mind was over whamming to him. You can figure out what he depended on: his aircraft instruments because he lived to tell the story.