Paul called on Christians to accept whatever lots they were in when God called them to Himself. It’s a call to bloom where one is planted and don’t try to be what one is not. Since it is God who had called every believer to Himself, each should stay contented and find their contentment in Him.
Paul wanted believers to understand that one’s social circumstance should not be the measurement for one’s spiritual contentment. A person is not defined by outward circumstances. It is determined by the person’s own self-evaluation. Here the apostle maintained that a believer’s spirituality and standing with God is not tied to his or her circumstances. It is not affected by marital status (verses10-16), nor social status (verses 18-19), nor economic status (verses 21-22). In these verses, Paul gave two illustrations of he said.
Verses 18-20 give us his first illustration. He said that a Jew didn’t have to remove the mark of circumcision in order to be free from their bigotry. And by the same token, the Gentiles need not seek to be circumcised to be accepted by God. Paul’s point was that whether Jews or Gentiles, the issue is not in the ethnicity or culture but their obedience and commitment to God. Simply put, what Paul meant is this: for a believer no change whether race or social status is required, just be obedient and committed to God.
In verses 21-23, he gave a second illustration, calling on the slaves not to let their conditions bother them. He told them that their slavery could be the place where they express their Christian callings. Their true freedom is in the Lord and they should live their lives accountable to the Lord.
He further showed that whether slave or free there is no difference. A slave could exercise his spiritual liberty in the Lord and a freedman must serve Christ his Lord, since they both belong to the Lord. Whether slave of free, they both share the same relationships of spiritual freedom and service to Christ. That’s also because they were both bought with a price by Christ. Therefore as people liberated by the Lord, they should not be enslaved and once again come under bondage of human and worldly thinking. So in verse 24 Paul exhorted them to remain in fellowship and stay connected to God, regardless of whatever state they were in, because they were called into relationship with Him.
The point is this: whatever our life calling is, we must stay faithful to the Lord. Since we belong to Him, let’s allow Him to take first place in everything in our life. He must be given top priority.