Galatians 4; Galatians 5; Galatians 6

1 I want to tell you this: While those who will inherit their fathers' prop- erty are still children, they are no different from slaves. It does not matter that the children own everything. 2 While they are children, they must obey those who are chosen to care for them. But when the children reach the age set by their fathers, they are free. 3 It is the same for us. We were once like children, slaves to the useless rules of this world. 4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son who was born of a woman and lived under the law. 5 God did this so he could buy freedom for those who were under the law and so we could become his children. 6 Since you are God's children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and the Spirit cries out, "Father." 7 So now you are not a slave; you are God's child, and God will give you the blessing he promised, because you are his child. 8 In the past you did not know God. You were slaves to gods that were not real. 9 But now you know the true God. Really, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to those weak and useless rules you followed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again? 10 You still follow teachings about special days, months, seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid for you, that my work for you has been wasted. 12 Brothers and sisters, I became like you, so I beg you to become like me. You were very good to me before. 13 You remember that it was because of an illness that I came to you the first time, preaching the Good News. 14 Though my sickness was a trouble for you, you did not hate me or make me leave. But you welcomed me as an angel from God, as if I were Jesus Christ himself! 15 You were very happy then, but where is that joy now? I am ready to testify that you would have taken out your eyes and given them to me if that were possible. 16 Now am I your enemy because I tell you the truth? 17 Those peoplen are working hard to persuade you, but this is not good for you. They want to persuade you to turn against us and follow only them. 18 It is good for people to show interest in you, but only if their purpose is good. This is always true, not just when I am with you. 19 My little children, again I feel the pain of childbirth for you until you truly become like Christ. 20 I wish I could be with you now and could change the way I am talking to you, because I do not know what to think about you. 21 Some of you still want to be under the law. Tell me, do you know what the law says? 22 The Scriptures say that Abraham had two sons. The mother of one son was a slave woman, and the mother of the other son was a free woman. 23 Abraham's son from the slave woman was born in the normal human way. But the son from the free woman was born because of the promise God made to Abraham. 24 This story teaches something else: The two women are like the two agreements between God and his people. One agreement is the law that God made on Mount Sinai, and the people who are under this agreement are like slaves. The mother named Hagar is like that agreement. 25 She is like Mount Sinai in Arabia and is a picture of the earthly Jewish city of Jerusalem. This city and its people, the Jews, are slaves to the law. 26 But the heavenly Jerusalem, which is above, is like the free woman. She is our mother. 27 It is written in the Scriptures: "Be happy, Jerusalem. You are like a woman who never gave birth to children. Start singing and shout for joy. You never felt the pain of giving birth, but you will have more children than the woman who has a husband." 28 My brothers and sisters, you are God's children because of his promise, as Isaac was then. 29 The son who was born in the normal way treated the other son badly. It is the same today. 30 But what does the Scripture say? "Throw out the slave woman and her son. The son of the slave woman should not inherit anything. The son of the free woman should receive it all." 31 So, my brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
1 We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law. 2 Listen, I Paul tell you that if you go back to the law by being circumcised, Christ does you no good. 3 Again, I warn every man: If you allow yourselves to be circumcised, you must follow all the law. 4 If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is over -- you have left God's grace. 5 But we have the true hope that comes from being made right with God, and by the Spirit we wait eagerly for this hope. 6 When we are in Christ Jesus, it is not important if we are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith -- the kind of faith that works through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who stopped you from following the true way? 8 This change did not come from the One who chose you. 9 Be careful! "Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise." 10 But I trust in the Lord that you will not believe those different ideas. Whoever is confusing you with such ideas will be punished. 11 My brothers and sisters, I do not teach that a man must be circumcised. If I teach circumcision, why am I still being attacked? If I still taught circumcision, my preaching about the cross would not be a problem. 12 I wish the people who are bothering you would castraten themselves! 13 My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love. 14 The whole law is made complete in this one command: "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." 15 If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other. 16 So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want. 17 Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please. 18 But if the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law. 19 The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, 20 worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, 21 feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God's kingdom. 22 But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. 25 We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit. 26 We must not be proud or make trouble with each other or be jealous of each other.
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone in your group does something wrong, you who are spiritual should go to that person and gently help make him right again. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin, too. 2 By helping each other with your troubles, you truly obey the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is important when he really is not, he is only fooling himself. 4 Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. 5 Each person must be responsible for himself. 6 Anyone who is learning the teaching of God should share all the good things he has with his teacher. 7 Do not be fooled: You cannot cheat God. People harvest only what they plant. 8 If they plant to satisfy their sinful selves, their sinful selves will bring them ruin. But if they plant to please the Spirit, they will receive eternal life from the Spirit. 9 We must not become tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time if we do not give up. 10 When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. 11 See what large letters I use to write this myself. 12 Some people are trying to force you to be circumcised so the Jews will accept them. They are afraid they will be attacked if they follow only the cross of Christ. 13 Those who are circumcised do not obey the law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised so they can brag about what they forced you to do. 14 I hope I will never brag about things like that. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is my only reason for bragging. Through the cross of Jesus my world was crucified, and I died to the world. 15 It is not important if a man is circumcised or uncircumcised. The important thing is being the new people God has made. 16 Peace and mercy to those who follow this rule -- and to all of God's people. 17 So do not give me any more trouble. I have scars on my body that shown I belong to Christ Jesus. 18 My brothers and sisters, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.