Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything.
Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father.
In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world.
But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent the 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 an heir through God.
But in the past, when you didn't know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods.
But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?
You observe [special] days, months, seasons, and years.
I am fearful for you, that perhaps my labor for you has been wasted.
I beg you, brothers: become like me, for I also became like you. You have not wronged me;
you know that previously I preached the gospel to you in physical weakness,
and though my physical condition was a trial for you, you did not despise or reject me. On the contrary, you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus [Himself].
What happened to this blessedness of yours? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
They are enthusiastic about you, but not for any good. Instead, they want to isolate you so you will be enthusiastic about them.
Now it is always good to be enthusiastic about good-- and not just when I am with you.
My children, again I am in the pains of childbirth for you until Christ is formed in you.
I'd like to be with you right now and change my tone of voice, because I don't know what to do about you.
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, don't you hear the law?
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman.
But the one by the slave was born according to the flesh, while the one by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
These things are illustrations, for the women represent the two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai and bears children into slavery-- this is Hagar.
Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children.
But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
For it is written: Rejoice, O barren woman who does not give birth. Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor, for the children of the desolate are many, more numerous than those of the woman who has a husband.
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
But just as then the child born according to the flesh persecuted the one born according to the Spirit, so also now.
But what does the Scripture say? Throw out the slave and her son, for the son of the slave will never inherit with the son of the free woman.
Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.
Christ has liberated us into freedom. Therefore stand firm and don't submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Take note! I, Paul, tell you that if you get circumcised, Christ will not benefit you at all.
Again I testify to every man who gets circumcised that he is obligated to keep the entire law.
You who are trying to be justified by the law are alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace!
For by the Spirit we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness from faith.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.
You were running well. Who prevented you from obeying the truth?
This persuasion did not come from Him who called you.
A little yeast leavens the whole lump of dough.
In the Lord I have confidence in you that you will not accept any other view. But whoever it is who is troubling you will pay the penalty.
Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.
I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!
For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don't use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.
For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don't do what you want.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity,
idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions,
envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance-- as I told you before-- that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,
gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you won't be tempted also.
Carry one another's burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
For if anyone considers himself to be something when he is nothing, he is deceiving himself.
But each person should examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in respect to someone else.
For each person will have to carry his own load.
The one who is taught the message must share his goods with the teacher.
Don't be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap,
because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.
So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up.
Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
Look at what large letters I have written to you in my own handwriting.
Those who want to make a good showing in the flesh are the ones who would compel you to be circumcised-- but only to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
For even the circumcised don't keep the law themselves; however, they want you to be circumcised in order to boast about your flesh.
But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
For both circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; [what matters] instead is a new creation.
May peace be on all those who follow this standard, and mercy also be on the Israel of God!
From now on, let no one cause me trouble, because I carry the marks of Jesus on my body.
Brothers, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.