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Galatians 4

Sons and Heirs

1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the date set by his father.

3 So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles a of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive our adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, you are also an heir through God.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you are turning back to those weak and worthless principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that my efforts for you may have been in vain. 12 I beg you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong.

13 You know that it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 And although my illness was a trial to you, you did not despise or reject me. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus Himself. 15 What then has become of your blessing? For I can testify that, if it were possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

17 Those people are zealous for you, but not in a good way. Instead, they want to isolate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18 Nevertheless, it is good to be zealous if it serves a noble purpose—at any time, and not only when I am with you.

19 My children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you.

Hagar and Sarah
(Genesis 21:9–21)

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, do you not understand what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. b  23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born through the promise.

24 These things serve as illustrations, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present-day Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written:

“Rejoice, O barren woman,

who bears no children;

break forth and cry aloud,

you who have never travailed;

because more are the children of the desolate woman

than of her who has a husband.” c 

28 Now you, d brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 At that time, however, the son born by the flesh persecuted the son born by the Spirit. It is the same now.

30 But what does the Scripture say? “Expel the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” e  31 Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

 

Footnotes:

3 a Or elemental forces ; similarly in verse 9
22 b See Genesis 16:15 and Genesis 21:2–3.
27 c Isaiah 54:1
28 d WH, BYZ, and TR we
30 e Genesis 21:10

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