4 Now I mean that the heir, as long as he is a minor, 1 is no different from a slave, though he is the owner 2 of everything. 2 But he is under guardians 3 and managers until the date set by his 4 father. 3 So also we, when we were minors, 5 were enslaved under the basic forces 6 of the world. 4 But when the appropriate time 7 had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. 8 6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls 9 “Abba! 10 Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are 11 a son, then you are also an heir through God. 12
8 Formerly when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods at all. 13 9 But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless 14 basic forces? 15 Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again? 16 10 You are observing religious 17 days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you that my work for you may have been in vain. 12 I beg you, brothers and sisters, 18 become like me, because I have become like you. You have done me no wrong!
13 But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first proclaimed the gospel to you, 14 and though my physical condition put you to the test, you did not despise or reject me. 19 Instead, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, 20 as though I were Christ Jesus himself! 21 15 Where then is your sense of happiness 22 now? For I testify about you that if it were possible, you would have pulled out your eyes and given them to me! 16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 23
17 They court you eagerly, 24 but for no good purpose; 25 they want to exclude you, so that you would seek them eagerly. 26 18 However, it is good 27 to be sought eagerly 28 for a good purpose 29 at all times, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My children – I am again undergoing birth pains until Christ is formed in you! 30 20 I wish I could be with you now and change my tone of voice, 31 because I am perplexed about you.
21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand the law? 32 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the 33 slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 But one, the son by the slave woman, was born by natural descent, 34 while the other, the son by the free woman, was born through the promise. 24 These things may be treated as an allegory, 35 for these women represent two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai bearing children for slavery; this is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar represents Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, 36 and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:
“Rejoice, O barren woman who does not bear children; 37
break forth and shout, you who have no birth pains,
because the children of the desolate woman are more numerous
than those of the woman who has a husband.” 38
28 But you, 39 brothers and sisters, 40 are children of the promise like Isaac. 29 But just as at that time the one born by natural descent 41 persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, 42 so it is now. 30 But what does the scripture say? “Throw out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman will not share the inheritance with the son” 43 of the free woman. 31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 44 we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.
5 For freedom 1 Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke 2 of slavery. 2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all! 3 And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey 3 the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be declared righteous 4 by the law have been alienated 5 from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love. 6
7 You were running well; who prevented you from obeying 7 the truth? 8 This persuasion 8 does not come from the one who calls you! 9 A little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise! 9 10 I am confident 10 in the Lord that you will accept no other view. 11 But the one who is confusing 12 you will pay the penalty, 13 whoever he may be. 11 Now, brothers and sisters, 14 if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? 15 In that case the offense of the cross 16 has been removed. 17 12 I wish those agitators 18 would go so far as to 19 castrate themselves! 20
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; 21 only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, 22 but through love serve one another. 23 14 For the whole law can be summed up in a single commandment, 24 namely, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” 25 15 However, if you continually bite and devour one another, 26 beware that you are not consumed 27 by one another. 16 But I say, live 28 by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 29 17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires 30 that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to 31 each other, so that you cannot do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh 32 are obvious: 33 sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, 34 hostilities, 35 strife, 36 jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, 37 factions, 21 envying, 38 murder, 39 drunkenness, carousing, 40 and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!
22 But the fruit of the Spirit 41 is love, 42 joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 43 23 gentleness, and 44 self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ 45 have crucified the flesh 46 with its passions 47 and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also behave in accordance with 48 the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, 49 provoking 50 one another, being jealous 51 of one another.