1 What I mean is this. As long as the heir is a child, he differs in no respect from a slave, though he be the owner of the whole inheritance; 2 but is under the control of guardians and trustees, until the time appointed by his father. 3 So we Jews also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the empty externalities of the world. 4 But when the fulness of time was come God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem from captivity those under law, in order that we might receive our sonship. 6 And because you are sons, God sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, "Dear, dear Father!" 7 So each one of you is no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir, too, through God's grace.
8 But once, when you Gentiles had no knowledge of God, you were slaves to gods which have no real being. 9 Now, however, when you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you are beginning to turn back to those weak and beggarly externalities, eager to be in bondage to them again? 10 You are scrupulous, are you, in observing "days" and "months" and "seasons" and "years"? 11 I am alarmed about you for fear lest I may have bestowed labor on you to no purpose.
12 Brothers, I beseech you, become as I am, because I also have become as you are. You never did me any wrong; 13 on the contrary, you know that although it was illness which brought about my preaching the gospel to you at my first visit, 14 and although my bodily affliction was a trial to you, you did not scoff at it nor spurn me, but welcomed me like an angel of God, like Christ Jesus himself.
15 Why then did you account yourselves so happy? (For I bear you witness that if you could you would have torn out your own eyes and given them to me.) 16 Am I then become your enemy, because I am telling you the truth? 17 These men are courting your favor to no good purpose. They want to isolate you, so that you will be courting their favor. 18 It is always an honorable thing to have your favor sought in an honorable cause, always, and not only when I am with you. 19 O my little children, of whom I travail again in birth until Christ be formed within you! 20 How I wish I could be with you now, that I might change my tone; for I am perplexed about you.
21 Tell me, you who wish to be subject to the Law, why do you not listen to the Law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman; 23 but while the son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, the son by the free woman was born in fulfilment of a promise. 24 Now all this is an allegory, for these women are the two covenants; one from Mount Sinai, which is Hagar bearing children into bondage 25 (for the word Hagar stands for Mt. Sinai in Arabia and represents the present Jerusalem who with her children is in bondage.) 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, O thou barren one who dost never bear, Break forth in joy, thou that dost not travail; For the children of the desolate woman are many. Yea, more than hers who has a husband.
28 But you, brothers, are like Isaac, children of the promise; 29 but just as in old times the son born by the flesh used to persecute the son born by the power of the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? Send away the slave-woman and her son; for the slave's son shall not be heir along with the son of the free woman.
31 So, brothers, we are the children of no slave woman, but of free woman. For freedom did not Christ set us free;