1Let me explain what I'm saying. An heir who is under-age is no different from a slave, even though the heir may be the owner of everything. 2An heir is subject to guardians and managers until the time set by the father. 3It's just the same for us. When we were children, we were slaves subject to the basic rules#4:3. The word translated “rules” here is subject to wide interpretation. Originally the word referred to the alphabet, then took the meaning of the “ABC's” of life. Paul is comparing the ceremonial law to such letters and symbols, basic instructions useful for existence but having no power to save and heal. The same word is used in verse 9. of the law. 4But at the appropriate time God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the rule of law, 5so that he could rescue those who were kept under the rule of law, so that we could receive the inheritance of adopted children.
6To show you are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, causing us to call out, “Abba,” meaning “Father.” 7Since you are now no longer a slave, but a child, and if you are his child, then God has made you his heir.
8At the time when you didn't know God, you were enslaved by the supposed “gods” of this world. 9But now you've come to know God—or better, to be known by God. So how can you go back to those useless and worthless rules? Do you want to be slaves to those rules all over again? 10You're observing special days and months, seasons and years.#4:10. This refers to the observing of special feast days and times in the Old Testament system. 11I'm concerned that all I did for you has been wasted!
12I'm pleading with you, my friends: be like me, because I became like you.#4:12. In other words, a “liberated Gentile.” You've never treated me badly. 13You remember that it was because I was sick that I shared with you the good news on my first visit.#4:13. It seems that because Paul was delayed due to sickness that he had the chance to share the good news with the Galatians. 14Even though my illness was difficult for you, you didn't despise or reject me—in fact you treated me like an angel of God, like Christ Jesus himself.
15So what's happened to all your gratefulness? I tell you, back then if you could have pulled out your eyes and given them to me, you would have! 16So what has happened—have I become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17These people are keen to gain your support, but not for any good reasons. On the contrary, they want to keep you away from us so that you will enthusiastically support them. 18Of course it's good to want to do good. But this should be at all times, not just when I'm there with you!#4:18. Suggesting these people were only wanting to be helpful to the Galatians to fulfill their own agenda. 19My dear friends, I want to work with you until Christ's character is duplicated in you. 20I really wish I could be with you right now so I could change my tone of voice… I'm so worried about you.
21Answer me this, you people who want to live under the law: Don't you hear what the law is saying? 22As Scripture says, Abraham had two sons, one from the servant girl, and one from the free woman. 23However the son from the servant girl was born following a human plan,#4:23. Referring to Sarah's plan to have a child through her servant-girl. while the son from the free woman was born as the result of the promise. 24This provides an analogy: these two women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai—Hagar—and she gives birth to slave children. 25Hagar symbolizes Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the current Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the heavenly Jerusalem is free. She is our mother.
27As Scripture says, “Rejoice you who are childless and who have never given birth! Shout aloud for joy, you who have never been in labor—for the abandoned woman has more children than the woman who has a husband!”#4:27. Isaiah 54:1. 28Now my friends, we are children of promise just like Isaac. 29However just as the one born according to a human plan persecuted the one born through the Spirit, so it is today. 30But what does Scripture say? “Send away the servant girl and her son, for the son of the servant girl will not be an heir together with the son of the free woman.”#4:30. Genesis 21:10. 31Therefore, my friends, we're not children of a servant girl, but of the free woman.