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1WHAT I am saying is that so long as an heir is a child, though he is destined to be master of everything, he is, in practice, no different from a servant.

2He has to obey guardians or trustees until the time which his father has chosen for him to receive his inheritance.

3So is it with us: while we were "children" we lived under the authority of basic moral principles.

4But when the proper time came God sent his own Son, born of a human mother and born under the jurisdiction of the Law,

5that he might redeem those who were under the authority of the Law: so that we might become sons of God.

6It is because you really are his sons that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts to cry "Father, dear Father".

7You are not a servant any longer; through God you are a [son]; and, if you are a son, then you are certainly an heir.

8At one time when you had no knowledge of God, you were under the authority of gods who had no real existence.

9But now that you have come to know God, or rather are known by him, how can you revert to the weakness and poverty of such principles and consent to be under their power all over again?

10Your religion is beginning to be a matter of observing special days and months and seasons and years.

11You make me wonder if all my efforts over you have been wasted!

12I do beg you to put yourselves in my place, my brothers, as I have put myself in yours. I have nothing against you personally.

13You know that it was physical illness which was the cause of my first preaching the gospel to you.

14You didn't despise me or let yourself be revolted by my disease. No, you welcomed me as though I were an angel of God, or even as though I were Christ Jesus himself!

15What has happened to that flue spirit of yours? I guarantee that in those days you would, if you could, have plucked out your eyes and given them to me.

16Have I now become your enemy because I continue to tell you the truth?

17Oh, I know how keen these men are to win you over, but their motives are all wrong. They would like to see you and me separated altogether, and have you all to themselves.

18It is always a fine thing that men should take an interest in you, whether I'm there or not, provided their motives are good.

19Oh, my dear children, I feel the pangs of childbirth all over again till Christ be formed within you,

20and how I long to be with you now! Perhaps I could then alter my tone. As it is, I honestly don't know how to deal with you.

21Now tell me, you who want to be under the Law, have you heard what the Law says?

22It is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave and one by the free woman.

23The child of the slave was born in the ordinary course of nature, but the child of the free woman was born in accordance with God's promise.

24This can be regarded as an allegory. Here are the two agreements represented by the two women: the one from Mount Sinai bearing children into slavery, typified by Hagar

25(Mount Sinai being in Arabia, the land of the descendants of Ishmael, Hagar's son), and corresponding to presentday Jerusalemfor the Jews are still, spiritually speaking, "slaves".

26But the free woman typifies the heavenly Jerusalem, who is the mother of us all, and is spiritually "free".

27It is written: Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her which hath the husband.

28Now you, my brothers, are like Isaac, children born "by promise".

29But just as in those faroff days the natural son persecuted the "spiritual" son, so it is today.

30Yet what is the scriptural instruction? Cast out the handmaid and her son: For the son of the handmaid shall not inherit With the son of the free woman.

31So then, my brothers, we are not to look upon ourselves as the sons of the slave woman but of the free, not sons of slavery under the Law but sons of freedom under grace.

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