4 • 1 But listen, as long as the heir of the host is a child, he has no advantage over the slaves, although he is the master of them all. 2 He is subject to those who care for him and who are entrusted with his affairs until the time set by his father comes. 3 In the same way we as children were first subjected to the created forces that govern the world. 4 But when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son. He came born of woman and subject to the Law, 5 in order to redeem the subjects of the Law, that we might receive adoption as children of God. 6 And because you are children, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of his Son which cries out: Abba! that is, Father!
7 You yourself are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and yours is the inheritance by God’s grace.
8 When you did not know God, you served those who are not gods. 9 But now that you have known God—or rather he has known you—how can you turn back to weak and impoverished created things? Do you want to be enslaved again? 10 Will you again observe this and that day, and the new moon, and this period and that year…? 11 I fear I may have wasted my time with you.
I still suffer for you
• 12 I implore you, dearly beloved, do as I do, just as I became like you. You have not offended me in anything. 13 Remember that it was an illness that first gave me the opportunity to announce the Gospel to you. 14 Although my illness was a trial to you, you did not despise or reject me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus.
15 Where is this bliss? For I can testify that you would have even plucked out your eyes to give them to me. 16 But now, have I become your enemy for telling you the truth?
17 Those who show consideration to you are not sincere; they want to separate you from me, so that you may show interest in them. 18 Would that you were surrounded with sincere care at all times, and not only from me when I am with you!
19 My children! I still suffer the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. 20 How I wish I could be there with you at this moment and find the right way of talking to you.
The comparison of Sarah and Hagar
• 21 Tell me, you who desire to submit yourselves to the Law, did you listen to it? 22 It says that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman, the other by the free woman, his wife. 23 The son of the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but the son of the free woman was born in fulfillment of God’s promise.
24 Here we have an allegory and the figures of two covenants. The first is the one from Mount Sinai, represented through Hagar: her children have slavery for their lot. 25 We know that Hagar was from Mount Sinai in Arabia: she stands for the present city of Jerusalem which is in slavery with her children.
26 But the Jerusalem above, who is our mother, is free. 27 And Scripture says of her: Rejoice, barren woman without children, break forth in shouts of joy, you who do not know the pains of childbirth, for many shall be the children of the forsaken mother, more than of the married woman.
28 You, dearly beloved, are children of the promise, like Isaac. 29 But as at that time the child born according to the flesh persecuted Isaac, who was born according to the spirit, so is it now. 30 And what does Scripture say? Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave cannot share the inheritance with the son of the free woman.
31 Brethren, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
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