41But now to continue — the son who will receive his father's property is treated just like a slave while he is young, even though he really owns everything. 2While he is young, there are men who take care of him and manage his affairs until the time set by his father. 3In the same way, we too were slaves of the ruling spirits of the universe before we reached spiritual maturity. 4But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law, 5
to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might become God's sons and daughters.
6To show that you are4.6 To show that you are; or Because you are. his sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who cries out, “Father, my Father.” 7So then, you are no longer a slave but a son or daughter. And since that is what you are, God will give you all that he has for his heirs.
8In the past you did not know God, and so you were slaves of beings who are not gods. 9But now that you know God — or, I should say, now that God knows you — how is it that you want to turn back to those weak and pitiful ruling spirits? Why do you want to become their slaves all over again? 10You pay special attention to certain days, months, seasons, and years. 11I am worried about you! Can it be that all my work for you has been for nothing?
12I beg you, my brothers and sisters, be like me. After all, I am like you. You have not done me any wrong. 13You remember why I preached the gospel to you the first time; it was because I was ill. 14But even though my physical condition was a great trial to you, you did not despise or reject me. Instead, you received me as you would an angel from heaven; you received me as you would Christ Jesus. 15You were so happy! What has happened? I myself can say that you would have taken out your own eyes, if you could, and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17Those other people show a deep interest in you, but their intentions are not good. All they want is to separate you from me, so that you will have the same interest in them as they have in you. 18Now, it is good to have such a deep interest if the purpose is good — this is true always, and not merely when I am with you. 19My dear children! Once again, just like a mother in childbirth, I feel the same kind of pain for you until Christ's nature is formed in you. 20How I wish I were with you now, so that I could take a different attitude towards you. I am so worried about you!
21Let me ask those of you who want to be subject to the Law: do you not hear what the Law says? 22
It says that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman, the other by a free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the usual way, but his son by the free woman was born as a result of God's promise. 24These things can be understood as a figure: the two women represent two covenants. The one whose children are born in slavery is Hagar, and she represents the covenant made at Mount Sinai. 25Hagar, who stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia, is4.25 Hagar… is; some manuscripts have Sinai is a mountain in Arabia, and it is. a figure of the present city of Jerusalem, in slavery with all its people. 26But the heavenly Jerusalem is free, and she is our mother. 27
For the scripture says:
“Be happy, you childless woman!
Shout and cry with joy, you who never felt the pains of childbirth!
For the woman who was deserted will have more children
than the woman whose husband never left her.”
28Now, you, my brothers and sisters, are God's children as a result of his promise, just as Isaac was. 29
At that time the son who was born in the usual way persecuted the one who was born because of God's Spirit; and it is the same now. 30
But what does the scripture say? It says, “Send the slave woman and her son away; for the son of the slave woman will not have a part of the father's property along with the son of the free woman.” 31So then, my brothers and sisters, we are not the children of a slave woman but of a free woman.
51Freedom is what we have — Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.
2Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, it means that Christ is of no use to you at all. 3Once more I warn any man who allows himself to be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the whole Law. 4Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God's grace. 5As for us, our hope is that God will put us right with him; and this is what we wait for by the power of God's Spirit working through our faith. 6For when we are in union with Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor the lack of it makes any difference at all; what matters is faith that works through love.
7You were doing so well! Who made you stop obeying the truth? How did he persuade you? 8It was not done by God, who calls you. 9
“It takes only a little yeast to make the whole batch of dough rise,” as they say. 10But I still feel confident about you. Our life in union with the Lord makes me confident that you will not take a different view and that the man who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will be punished by God.
11But as for me, my brothers and sisters, if I continue to preach that circumcision is necessary, why am I still being persecuted? If that were true, then my preaching about the cross of Christ would cause no trouble. 12I wish that the people who are upsetting you would go all the way; let them go on and castrate themselves!
13As for you, my brothers and sisters, you were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. 14
For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” 15But if you act like wild animals, hurting and harming each other, then watch out, or you will completely destroy one another.
16What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. 17
For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants. These two are enemies, and this means that you cannot do what you want to do. 18If the Spirit leads you, then you are not subject to the Law.
19What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; 20in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; 21they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God.
22But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. 25The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. 26We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.
61My brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too. 2Help to carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will obey6.2 you will obey; some manuscripts have obey. the law of Christ. 3If someone thinks he or she is somebody when really they are nobody, they are only deceiving themselves. 4You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done. 5For we each have our own load to carry.
6Those who are being taught the Christian message should share all the good things they have with their teachers.
7Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. People will reap exactly what they sow. 8If they sow in the field of their natural desires, from it they will gather the harvest of death; if they sow in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit they will gather the harvest of eternal life. 9So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. 10So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.
11See what big letters I make as I write to you now with my own hand! 12The people who are trying to force you to be circumcised are the ones who want to show off and boast about external matters. They do it, however, only so that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even those who practise circumcision do not obey the Law; they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you submitted to this physical ceremony. 14As for me, however, I will boast only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; for by means of his cross the world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. 15It does not matter at all whether or not one is circumcised; what does matter is being a new creature. 16As for those who follow this rule in their lives, may peace and mercy be with them — with them and with all God's people!
17To conclude: let no one give me any more trouble, because the scars I have on my body show that I am the slave of Jesus.
18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, my brothers and sisters. Amen.