1What I am saying is this: an heir, during the time while he is stil under age, is no different from a slave,even though he is the owner of al the property; 2he is under the control of guardians and administrators until the time fixed by his father. 3So too with us, as long as we were stil under age, we were enslaved to the elemental principles of thisworld; 4but when the completion of the time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of theLaw, 5to redeem the subjects of the Law, so that we could receive adoption as sons. 6As you are sons, God has sent into our hearts the Spirit of his Son crying, 'Abba, Father'; 7and so you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir, by God's own act. 8But formerly when you did not know God, you were kept in slavery to things which are not really gods atal , 9whereas now that you have come to recognise God -- or rather, be recognised by God -- how can younow turn back again to those powerless and bankrupt elements whose slaves you now want to be al overagain? 10You are keeping special days, and months, and seasons and years- 11I am beginning to be afraid that I may, after al , have wasted my efforts on you. 12I urge you, brothers,-be like me, as I have become like you. You have never been unfair to me; 13indeed you remember that it was an il ness that first gave me the opportunity to preach the gospel toyou, 14but though my il ness was a trial to you, you did not show any distaste or revulsion; instead, youwelcomed me as a messenger of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15What has happened to the utter contentment you had then? For I can testify to you that you wouldhave plucked your eyes out, were that possible, and given them to me. 16Then have I turned into your enemy simply by being truthful with you? 17Their devotion to you has no praiseworthy motive; they simply want to cut you off from me, so that youmay centre your devotion on them. 18Devotion to a praiseworthy cause is praiseworthy at any time, not only when I am there with you. 19My children, I am going through the pain of giving birth to you al over again, until Christ is formed inyou; 20and how I wish I could be there with you at this moment and find the right way of talking to you: I amquite at a loss with you. 21Tell me then, you are so eager to be subject to the Law, have you listened to what the Law says? 22Scripture says that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave girl and one by the freewoman. 23The son of the slave girl came to be born in the way of human nature; but the son of the freewomancame to be born through a promise. 24There is an al egory here: these women stand for the two covenants. The one given on Mount Sinai --that is Hagar, whose children are born into slavery; 25now Sinai is a mountain in Arabia and represents Jerusalem in its present state, for she is in slaverytogether with her children. 26But the Jerusalem above is free, and that is the one that is our mother; 27as scripture says: Shout for joy, you barren woman who has borne no children! Break into shouts ofjoy, you who were never in labour. For the sons of the forsaken one are more in number than the sons of thewedded wife. 28Now you, brothers, are like Isaac, children of the promise; 29just as at that time, the child born in the way of human nature persecuted the child born through theSpirit, so now. 30But what is it that scripture says? Drive away that slave girl and her son; the slave girl's son is not toshare the inheritance with the son of the freewoman. 31So, brothers, we are the children not of the slave girl but of the freewoman.
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