The Apostle Paul wrote an entire chapter on living a Christian life (1 Cor. 7). He did not sugar-coat the difficulty of being faithful, nor did he ignore the intense persecution of believers at the time of his writing (v. 26). The chapter is a depressing picture of how difficult it was for the individual, especially when you take into consideration one’s obligations to God (v. 18-20, 32, 34-35, 40), one’s obligations to family (v. 2-5, 9-17, 27-28, 33-34, 36, 39), and one’s obligations to “a job” (v. 21-24).
Regardless of the challenges facing the believer, Paul stated that they were not to be an excuse for failing to meet one’s responsibilities. If one was called to faith in Christ, being circumcised or uncircumcised, he was to remain as he was when Christ called him (v. 18-20). If he was called being either married or single, he was to remain as such (v. 1-17, 27). If he was called while being a slave (indentured servant), he was to complete his obligation to those in authority over him (v. 21-24).
Paul had several things to say about a believer’s responsibility to make wise choices. First, to the single, he recommended they remain single (v. 7), unless they could not control themselves (v. 2, 9). While that seems to contradict what God said about marriage (Gen. 2:18-25), Paul was taking into consideration the work of (v. 29-35), and persecution of the Church (v. 26) of his day.
When he spoke of a man remaining circumcised, he obviously was not referring to becoming uncircumcised physically. I don’t even know if that is possible today, but I am sure it was not in Paul’s day. I believe he meant for those Christians with a Jewish background, to continue honoring their Jewish heritage, such as celebrating the Feasts of Israel. Similarly, those Christians who were from a Gentile background should not try to “become Jewish.” He wrote elsewhere that neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision mattered for the born again believer (Gal. 5:6; 6:15; Col. 3:11).
To me, this chapter is teaching believers to consider the circumstances in which they find themselves when making plans and decisions. What the Word teaches about things should be applied when the circumstances allow for such an application. For instance, Paul wrote there is neither bond nor free in Christ (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11), and yet, in this chapter, he clearly states a bond servant should remain as such (v. 21-24). As I pointed out earlier, there are times when marriage is appropriate, and times when marriage is counter productive (v. 26-40).
Born again believers are supposed to walk in the Spirit, and in so doing, He will give us discernment to evaluate our circumstances, and the wisdom to apply the appropriate passages of Scripture to our lives. As Ecclesiastes says, there is a time “for different stuff” (Eccl. 3:1-8).
Reading God’s Word will give one knowledge.
Walking in the Spirit will give one the wisdom to apply it.