Knowledge is power... right?!? It seems so. People who know things seem to get things. If someone knows the short cut they get to the finished line quicker. But knowledge is just one layer of things.
Information oriented people are prone to think that more information is the solution. Take a look at this group of verses:
"Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that 'all of us possess knowledge.' This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that 'an idol has no real existence,' and that 'there is no God but one.' For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth - as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords' - yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled." 1 Cor 8:1-7 ESV
The power of an idol is directly linked to our previous association with a false belief system. The defilement comes from the ingesting of information... not food. Information can be the idol. After all it is what we substitute for God and reliance on Him. What we 'knew' long ago but has been replaced by new knowledge still hurts us but not on an intellectual level.
Redemptive knowledge is different. For one thing it is alive because it's source is alive. Jesus is alive. It contains an awareness of God's viewpoint and perspective. It views God looking on with gracious eyes.
"Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." 1 Cor 8:8-13 ESV
Ah Ha! Paul's knowing is not a knowing that he uses as leverage against people or for himself. It is a knowing that causes him to want to lay down his life. He is living a life outside of himself... divorced from the old.
This knowing is never isolated. The thinker has spectators and is viewing others. It is not in a self conscious way but a God conscious way.
Redemptive knowledge is the knowledge that only a redeemed person can know. It doesn't leave us with a hunger to know more and more. It overrides our self life and opens a door to a new life.
As a spectator we are aware of what knowledge has done to people... how being cut off from God has hurt and blinded people. A victim is required for redemption to take place. Jesus was that victim. He limited His freedom to come Earth and be a man. He saw His commitment through to be a sacrifice. We are free but at times we sacrifice our freedom for others. We have a redemptive conscience and not a conscience of convenience.
We once fell out of innocence into corruption... by grace through faith holiness it is something we have been baptized into forever. Now, In liberty we lay down what no one could take from us.
That is why, as a policy, I won't buy soda in a liquor store in the United States or get change for the meter in a porn shop. Is it because I am self righteous? Am I afraid of the liquor's power over me? I am free... but I am a spectator and I have spectators.
I'd eat at a pub in Ireland. It is different culture. We spent years witnessing in the red light district in Baltimore... we went as a group and we made sure to always have gospel tracts in our hands on the street.
Grace has given me convictions. I don't see sin and transgression everywhere... I see people who need Jesus.
This knowledge is restful... not naive... not lustful... it is a doorway to wisdom... in communion with God I have it and it has me.