I felt like a second-class citizen in my high school, almost. That was until I befriended someone on the baseball team (which then turned out to be several members of the baseball team). Suddenly, I knew what was going on behind the scenes. I was being invited to parties with the cool kids. I quickly discovered something that both excited me and opened my eyes: the popular kids played by their own rules. Where kids' one desire is to be accepted, they were able to use that against them, or at least take advantage of that. Some will do anything to feel loved and accepted...
The first century Christians in Corinth also played by their own rules. The Corinthian church had a strong faction of intelligent, wealthy, prominent, and sophisticated members who believed that Christians were not bound by the law of abstaining from the consumption of meat products, specifically the meat offered to idols. The reason was "simple" for them who were "in the know." They could eat the meat because idols did not exist. Idols had no power since there is one God, as proclaimed in the Shema (which was a piece of "insider language" saying that the Lord is one).
But in the Corinthian church there were also ordinary people whose incomes and habits allowed very little meat in their diets. For these folks who "didn't know any better," eating meat offered to idols threatened faith by drawing them back to the idolatrous cultures from which they had only recently been converted to the Christian faith.
This was also true for me. I couldn't be seen with certain people or in certain places unless I wanted to lose my status as a popular kid in the know.
As in my high school, there are groups ("cliques?") of people who are "in the know" and that "don't know any better." I think part of the joy of being a Christian is that I live differently now. I know that "anyone who loves God is known by him." Part of what happens to us when we love God is that we love or neighbor with boldness, courage, and faith. That means that we entrust, we gift, we show that being "in Christ" is far better than being "in the know." Jesus offers us a life that is not concerned about knowledge, status, or popularity, but with God and our neighbor.
Yes, we are free from the law because Christ fulfilled the law. We are free to be known and loved and to simultaneously love God and neighbor. It is through Christ we are free. Thanks be to God.
See you Sunday!