Galatians 4

Paul explains about sons

1 I will say it like this. Think about a son who will one day receive what belongs to his father. While he is still a child, he is like a slave in the family. That is true, even though all his father's things really belong to him. 2 He has to wait until the time that his father has decided. Until then, the son has to obey his teachers and the guides who take care of him. 3 In the same way, we were children like that in God's family. We were slaves to the bad spirits that rule this world. 4 But when the time that God had decided arrived, he sent his Son into the world. A human mother gave birth to him. He was born a Jew, under the authority of God's Law. 5 In that way, he made us free from the authority of the Law. Before that, we were like slaves under the Law. But God's Son paid our debt, so that God would accept us as his true children. 6 Because we are his children, God has sent his Son's Spirit to live inside us. His Spirit causes us to call God, ‘Father, my Father’. 7 So you are not slaves any more, but you are God's children. And because of that, you will receive all the good things that God has promised.

Continue to trust Christ

8 Before, when you did not know God, you served false gods. They were not gods at all, but you were their slaves. 9 But now you do know God. Or really, I should say that God knows you. So you must not turn back to serve those weak spirits that rule this world. Why do you want to obey their useless rules and become their slaves again? 10 You say that certain days, or months, or seasons, or years are special. That is how you want to please God. 11 I am afraid about you. I worked very much to help you. I do not want my work to have no results.

12 My Christian friends, please become like me! I ask you to do this, because when I was with you, I became like you. You did not then do anything wrong to me. 13 You must remember that I first came to you because I was ill. That was when I first told God's good news to you. 14 I caused trouble for you because I was ill. But you did not insult me. You did not tell me to go away. But you were kind to me. You took care of me as if I were an angel from God, or even Christ Jesus himself. 15 But now you do not seem to be happy with me any more. I can say that you would have pulled out your own eyes to help me. You would have given them to me, if that had been possible. 16 But now I seem to have become your enemy! Is that because I am telling you God's true message?

17 Those false teachers try very much to please you. But they do not really want what is good for you. They want to make you turn away from me. Then you will only want to listen to them. 18 It is good for someone to try to please other people if they really want to help them. That is true all the time, not only when I am there with you. 19 My children, I feel like a mother who is giving birth to you again. I will continue to feel that kind of pain until you become more completely like Christ. 20 I want very much to be there with you now. Then I would know better how to speak to you. As it is, I do not know what to think about you.

A picture of Hagar and Sarah

21 I say this to you people who want God's Law to have authority over you. Think carefully about what that Law really says. 22 The Bible says that Abraham had two sons. The mother of one of them was a slave. The mother of the other son was a free woman. 23 Hagar was a slave. Her son was born as a result of what Abraham himself decided. But Abraham's wife, Sarah, gave birth to the other son. That son was born as a result of what God had promised to Abraham.

4:23See Genesis 16; 21:1-9.

24 These two women are like pictures of 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 the city of Jerusalem here on earth now, because that city and its people are slaves under the authority of God's Law.

4:24Sinai mountain was the place where God gave his Law to Israel's people. God's agreement with his people at that time was that they must obey all the rules in his Law. So Israel's people were like slaves under the authority of God's Law.
4:25Arabia was south and east from Israel.

26 But Abraham's wife, Sarah, is a picture of the new Jerusalem that is above. Sarah was a free person, not a slave, and she is like our mother. 27 It says in the Bible:

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

You have never known the pain of a child's birth.

But now shout loudly because you are so happy!

Yes, be happy, because the lonely woman now has more children

than the woman who has a husband.’

4:27See Isaiah 54:1.

28 You, my Christian friends, are like Sarah's son, Isaac. Like him, you became God's children as a result of God's promise. 29 Isaac was born because of God's Spirit. The son who was born in the human way gave much trouble to Isaac at that time. You who are believers receive the same kind of trouble now. 30 But this is what it says in the Bible: ‘Send away the woman who is a slave and her son. That woman's son will never receive anything from his father. The son of the free woman will receive all those good things.’ 31 So then, my Christian friends, we are not children of the woman who is a slave. No, we are children of the free woman.

4:30See Genesis 21:10. Hagar's son was called Ishmael. Sarah's son was called Isaac. Hagar and Ishmael caused much trouble to Sarah and Isaac.