4 1 But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all; 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father. 3 So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children. 6 And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba,  Father!” 7 So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Warning against Returning to Bondage
8 However at that time, not knowing God, you were in bondage to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, why do you turn back again to the weak and miserable elemental principles, to which you desire to be in bondage all over again? 10 You observe days, months, seasons, and years. 11 I am afraid for you, that I might have wasted my labor for you.
12 I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong, 13 but you know that because of weakness of the flesh I preached the Good News to you the first time. 14 That which was a temptation to you in my flesh, you didn’t despise nor reject; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 What was the blessing you enjoyed? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. 16 So then, have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
The Allegory of Hagar and Sarah
21 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don’t you listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman. 23 However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. 24 These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. 25 For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written,
“Rejoice, you barren who don’t bear.
Break forth and shout, you that don’t travail.
For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband.”  28 Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 However what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman.”  31 So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.
Stand Fast in Liberty
5 1 Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace. 5 For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little yeast grows through the whole lump. 10 I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off.
13 For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  15 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another.
The Fruit of the Spirit and the Works of the Flesh
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,  23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.
6 1 Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. 5 For each man will bear his own burden. 6 But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. 7 Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let’s do what is good toward all men, and especially toward those who are of the household of the faith.
Paul Glories in the Cross
11 See with what large letters I write to you with my own hand. 12 As many as desire to look good in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even they who receive circumcision don’t keep the law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 As many as walk by this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on God’s Israel. 17 From now on, let no one cause me any trouble, for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus branded on my body.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
4:6 Abba is a Greek spelling for the Aramaic word for “Father” or “Daddy” used in a familiar, respectful, and loving way.
4:27 Isaiah 54:1
4:30 Genesis 21:10
5:14 Leviticus 19:18
5:22 or, faithfulness