My point is this: heirs, when they are children, are no better than slaves, though they own all of the property. While children, they remain under guardians.
It’s the same with us. Once, we were enslaved to law, but God sent his Son to redeem us from the law so we might be adopted as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Father!” You are no longer a slave. You’re a child and heir through God.
Now that you have come to know God, or rather known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental ways? How can you want to be enslaved to them again?
You are observing special religious events as in the former days. I’m afraid my work for you may have been wasted.
Friends, you welcomed me as an angel of God.
What has become of the goodwill you felt? Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
My children, I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.
Tell me, you who desire to be subject to the law, will you not listen to the law?
It is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman, Hagar, and the other by a free woman, Sarah. The child of the slave was born according to the flesh; the child of the free woman was born through the promise.
Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. Hagar bore children for slavery. But Sarah is free, and she is our mother.
My friends, you are children of the promise, like Isaac, Sarah’s son. But others who enslaved to the law still persecute you.
What does Scripture say? “Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.” So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.
(This shortened take on Galatians 4 is based on the New Revised Standard Version of Scripture.)