1 Corinthians 7:17-24 is a complex passage which uses ‘circumcision’ as a metaphor for matters pertaining to relationships.
The end result will ideally show a person that in no place has the commandment of circumcision been abolished.
This explanation will also show how 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 is instead essentially instructing believers to remain in the same relationship state/status that they were in at the time that they first believed, repented, and were saved.
Infact the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 7 deals with relationship related matters.
For example, if you were single at the time of believing, the passage instructs you to stay single – unless you burn with desire (for intimacy etc.), then you should seek marriage to avoid immorality (inc. even self stimulation), instead (ref. Matthew 5:27-30).
As the passage concludes it encourages all believers, by saying the married will do well, and the single will do even better – distractions, obligations, and cares being sighted, as the married need to tend to their relationship as well as their faithful walk and observance.
The explanation for this section of Holy Scripture will be shared in a verse-by-verse style format to assist in providing correct context.
Here Acts 15:1 will be explained to show how believers are deemed ‘saved’ before they are circumcised, and that the verse in no way abolishes the commandment of circumcision.
At the time, some dear zealous Pharisees who believed that Christ was Messiah, sadly incorrectly still thought it was the circumcision which meant a person was ‘saved’ and resulted in the conversion of a person.
For reference, even still today conversion in traditional Judaism (those who do not yet believe in Messiah), takes place after the circumcision.
With this, believers are further instructed not to force other believers to be circumcised. They will however, naturally seek and desire to be circumcised as they come to the knowledge of the commandment – as this means they are trying to uphold the Law of Moses with their faith.
Showing how Timothy the faithful disciple originally lived with his mother who was a Jew and a believer, and with his father who was a Greek though not a believer at the time.
Because Timothy’s dad was both a Greek and a non-believing person at the time; Timothy was not yet circumcised, however, such is highly uncommon practice for grown children in Judaic – let alone believing families.
When presented with the opportunity, Timothy got circumcised and inturn practiced what he preached, even while assisting the apostle Paul share the gospel.
Showing how Galatians 5:11 shows us how the apostle Paul preached the commandment of circumcision, however, some observant people who did not believe in Messiah (Christ) were offended and persecuted him – as he preached faith (the ‘cross’) first and foremost for complete justification and everlasting life.
With this faith a person gets circumcised – on the understanding that it is the faith that saves, and not the circumcision, though the circumcision is a commandment and if a believer is not circumcised, they are living in a sinful state (Colossians 2:13, Romans 6:1-3).
Showing how in no place does Galatians 5:2 say that the commandment of circumcision has been abolished.
Rather, in verse 4 context is given and when read together, the passage is speaking to a group of people who were perhaps incorrectly thinking they would be saved once and only after they got their circumcision (‘under the law’).
This is what it means in Galatians 5:2 by ‘…if you accept circumcision…’ (ESV).
A believer however understands that they are saved upon believing in G-d and I Christ (Messiah) (Romans 3:28, John 14:1, Isaiah 50:10), and that with this faith they observe the Law of Moses (Rom 3:31 ESV) – they get circumcised on this belief.