1 My point is this — As long as the heir is under age, there is no difference between him and a slave, though he is master of the whole estate.
2 He is subject to the control of guardians and stewards, during the period for which his father has power to appoint them.
3 And so is it with us; when we were under age, as it were, we were slaves to the puerile teaching of this world;
4 but, when the full time came, God sent his Son — born a woman's child, born subject to Law —
5 To ransom those who were subject to Law, so that we might take our position as sons.
6 And it is because you are sons that God sent into our hearts the Spirit of his Son, with the cry — ‘Abba, our Father.’
7 You, therefore, are no longer a slave, but a son; and, if a son, then an heir also, by God's appointment.
8 Yet formerly, in your ignorance of God, you became slaves to ‘gods’ which were no gods.
9 But now that you have found God — or, rather, have been found by him — how is it that you are turning back to that poor and feeble puerile teaching, to which yet once again you are wanting to become slaves?
10 You are scrupulous in keeping days and months and seasons and years!
11 You make me fear that the labor which I have spent on you may have been wasted.
12 I entreat you, friends, to become like me, as I became like you. You have never done me any wrong.
13 You remember that it was owing to bodily infirmity that on the first occasion I told you the good news.
14 And as for what must have tried you in my condition, it did not inspire you with scorn or disgust, but you welcomed me as if I had been an angel of God — or Christ Jesus himself!
15 What has become then, of your blessings? For I can bear witness that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me!
16 Am I to think, then, that I have become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17 Certain people are seeking your favor, but with no honorable object. No, indeed, they want to isolate you, so that you will have to seek their favor.
18 It is always honorable to have your favor sought in an honorable cause, and not only when I am with you, my dear children —
19 You for whom I am again enduring a mother's pains, until a likeness to Christ will have been formed in you.
20 But I could wish to be with you now and speak in a different tone, for I am perplexed about you.
21 Tell me, you who want to be still subject to Law — Why don't you listen to the Law?
22 Scripture says that Abraham had two sons, one the child of the slave-woman and the other the child of the free woman.
23 But the child of the slave-woman was born in the course of nature, while the child of the free woman was born in fulfillment of a promise.
24 This story may be taken as an allegory. The women stand for two Covenants. One covenant, given from Mount Sinai, produces a race of slaves and is represented by Hagar
25 (The word Hagar meaning in Arabia Mount Sinai) and it ranks with the Jerusalem of today, for she and her children are in slavery.
26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she it is who is our mother.
27 For scripture says —
‘Rejoice, you barren one, who does never bear,
Break into shouts, you who are never in labor,
For many are the children of her who is desolate —
aye, more than of her who has a husband.’
28 As for ourselves, friends, we, like Isaac, are children born in fulfillment of a promise.
29 Yet at that time the child born in the course of nature persecuted the child born by the power of the Spirit; and it is the same now.
30 But what does the passage of scripture say?
‘Send away the slave-woman and her son; for the slave's son will not be coheir with the son of the free woman.’
31 And so, friends, we are not children of a slave, but of her who is free.