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Galatians 4

Paul explains about sons

1 I will try to explain it like this. The oldest son in a family will receive what is his father's at the right age. But while he is a child, he is completely like a slave. One day he will be the master of all his father's things. But still he is completely like a slave now. 2 He has to obey teachers, and other people who have authority over him, until the right time. He must wait for the time that his father has chosen. 3 In the same way, we were like children also. We were slaves to the bad spirits that rule this world. 4 But when the time was completely right, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother. He was born a Jew, under the authority of the Jews' rules. 5 We were like slaves under the Jews' rules. But God's Son bought us, to make us free. So then we could become proper sons of God. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent his Son's Spirit to live deep inside us. His Spirit in us shouts to God: ‘Father, my Father’. 7 So, you are not a slave any more, but you are a son. And because of that, you will receive everything that God gives to his sons.

Paul is afraid that the Christians in Galatia may stop believing Christ

8 Before, when you did not know God, you were slaves to other spirits. You were slaves to spirits that are not really gods. 9 But now you know God. Or really, I should say that God knows you. So, you should not turn back to those weak and poor spirits that rule this world. You should not want to become their slaves again! 10 You say that certain days, or months, or times, or years are special. 11 I am afraid about you. I worked so very much among you to help you. And I am afraid that I may have wasted my time.

12 My friends, I ask you very strongly to become like me, because I became like you. You have not done anything wrong to me. 13 I told the good news to you the first time because I was ill. You know that. 14 I caused trouble for you because I was ill. But still you were kind to me, and you did not say bad things to me. Instead, you said ‘welcome!’ You were as happy as if I were an angel from God, or even Christ Jesus himself. 15 But now I do not understand why you are not happy like that any more. I can say certainly that you would have torn out your own eyes for me. If it had been possible, you would have given your own eyes to me. 16 And now I seem to have become your enemy because of what I am telling you! But I am telling you only what is true.

17 Those false teachers want very much to make you believe them. But they do not really want what is good for you. What they do want is to make you separate from me. They want you to think that they themselves are very clever and important. 18 It is good to want other people to believe certain things, if it is for a good purpose. It is always good to be like that, not only when I am there with you. 19 My children, I feel really like a mother who is giving birth to you again. I feel pain on your behalf until you become more completely like Christ. 20 I want very much to be present with you now. Then I could know better what I should say to you. Because I do not really know what to say.

Hagar and Sarah

21 So, you want the Jews' rules to have authority over you! Then you must know what those rules mean. 22 It says in the Bible that Abraham had two sons. He had one son by a woman, Hagar, who was a slave. And he had another son by Sarah, who was a free woman. 23 One woman was a slave. And her son was born as a result of what Abraham himself decided. But his son by the free woman was born as a result of what God had promised.

4:23See Genesis chapter 16 and Genesis 21:1-9.

24 These two women are like pictures of the two agreements that God made with his people. Hagar is like the agreement that God made on Sinai mountain. That agreement causes people to become slaves. 25 Hagar is like a picture of Sinai mountain in Arabia. Also, she is like Jerusalem city here on earth now, because that city and its people are slaves. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free. And that Jerusalem is our mother. 27 It says in the Bible:

4:25Arabia was south and east from Israel.

‘Be happy, you woman who could not have any children!

You are the woman who has never known the pain from a child's birth.

Shout loudly because you are so happy!

Because the sad and lonely woman has many more children

than the woman who has a husband.’

28 You, my friends, are children like Isaac. Like him, you were born as a result of what God promised. 29 At that time, the son who was born as a result of what Abraham decided was not kind to Isaac. That first son, Ishmael, caused trouble and pain for Isaac, the son who was born because of God's Spirit. And it is the same now. 30 But it says in the Bible: ‘Send away the woman who is a slave and her son. Because that woman's son will never receive what God has promised to the free woman's son.’ 31 So then, my friends, we are not children of the woman who is a slave. No, we are children of the free woman.