I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything,
but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.
In the same way we also, when we were children, 1were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.
But 2when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, 3born 4of woman, born 5under the law,
6to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive 7adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent 8the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then 9an heir through God.
Formerly, when you 10did not know God, you 11were enslaved to those that by nature 12are not gods.
But now that you have come to know God, or rather 13to be known by God, 14how can you turn back again to 15the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
16You observe days and months and seasons and years!
I am afraid 17I may have labored over you in vain.
Brothers,18I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. 19You did me no wrong.
You know it was 20because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you 21at first,
and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me 22as an angel of God, 23as Christ Jesus.
What then has become of the blessing you felt? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.
Have I then become your enemy by 24telling you the truth?
They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.
It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and 25not only when I am present with you,
26my little children, 27for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ 28is formed in you!
I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.
Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law?
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, 29one by a slave woman and 30one by a free woman.
But 31the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while 32the son of the free woman was born through promise.
Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two 33covenants. 34One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar.
Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
But 35the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
For it is written, 36"Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband."
Now you, brothers, 37like Isaac, 38are children of promise.
But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh 39persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, 40so also it is now.
But what does the Scripture say? 41"Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman."
So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but 42of the free woman.