Here is what I have been saying. As long as your own children are young, they are no different from slaves in your house. They are no different, even though they own all of the property.
They are under the care of guardians and those who manage the property. They are under their care until the time when their fathers give them the property.
It is the same with us. When we were children, we were slaves to the basic things the people of the world believe.
But then the right time came. God sent his Son. A woman gave birth to him. He was born under the authority of the law.
He came to set free those who were under the law. He wanted us to be adopted as children with all the rights children have.
Because you are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. He is the Holy Spirit. By his power we call God “[Abba.]” Abba means Father.
So you aren't slaves any longer. You are God's children. Because you are his children, he gives you what he promised to give his people.
At one time you didn't know God. You were slaves to gods that are really not gods at all.
But now you know God. Even better, God knows you. So why are you turning back to those weak and worthless beliefs? Do you want to be slaves to them all over again?
You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!
I am afraid for you. I am afraid that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
I make my appeal to you, brothers and sisters. I'm asking you to become like me. After all, I became like you. You didn't do anything wrong to me.
As you know, it was because I was sick that I first preached the good news to you.
My sickness was hard on you. But you didn't put me off. You didn't make fun of me. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God. You welcomed me as if I were Christ Jesus himself.
What has happened to all of your joy? If you could have torn out your own eyes and given them to me, you would have. I can give witness to that.
Have I become your enemy now by telling you the truth?
Those people are trying hard to win you over. But it is not for your good. They want to take you away from us. They want you to commit yourselves to them.
It is fine to be committed to something, if the purpose is good. And you shouldn't be committed only when I am with you. You should always be committed.
My dear children, I am in pain for you. Once again I have pain like a woman giving birth. And my pain will continue until Christ makes you like himself.
I wish I could be with you now. I wish I could change my tone of voice. As it is, you bewilder me.
You who want to be under the authority of the law, tell me something. Don't you know what the law says?
It is written that Abraham had two sons. The slave woman gave birth to one of them. The free woman gave birth to the other one.
Abraham's son by the slave woman was born in the usual way. But his son by the free woman was born because of God's promise.
Those things can be taken as examples. The two women stand for two covenants. One covenant comes from Mount Sinai. It gives birth to children who are going to be slaves. It is Hagar.
Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia. She stands for the present city of Jerusalem. That's because she and her children are slaves.
But the Jerusalem that is above is free. She is our mother.
It is written, “Be glad, woman, you who have no children. Start shouting, you who have no labor pains. The woman who is all alone has more children than the woman who has a husband.”
Brothers and sisters, you are children because of God's promise just as Isaac was.
At that time, the son born in the usual way tried to hurt the son born by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the same now.
But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman. Get rid of her son. The slave woman's son will never have a share of the family's property with the free woman's son.”
Brothers and sisters, we are not the slave woman's children. We are the free woman's children.
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