Main point summary
God sent his Son and his Spirit into your hearts and so redeemed you from slavery and made you his sons and heirs; how can you throw all that way by returning to slavery ?
I mean that the heir ... is no different from a slave,
... as long as he is a child, ...
though he is the owner of everything,
but he is under guardians and managers
until the date set by his father.
In the same way we also, when we were children, c were enslaved to the elementary principles 1 of the world.
But d when the fullness of time had come,
God sent forth his Son, e born f of woman, born g under the law,
h to redeem those who were under the law,
so that we might receive i adoption as sons.
And because you are sons,
God has sent j the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying, “Abba! Father!”
So you are no longer a slave,
but a son,
and if a son,
then k an heir through God.
Formerly, when you l did not know God,
you m were enslaved to those that by nature n are not gods.
But now that you have come to know God,
or rather o to be known by God,
p how can you turn back again to q the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
r You observe days and months and seasons and years!
I am afraid s I may have labored over you in vain.
2a-b give a further explanation of the heir being no different than a slave; specifically, it gives the manner in which he is no different than a slave.
Just like a minor is no different than a slave until he reaches the age of majority, so we were enslaved before Christ came.
God sent his Son to redeem and adopt those under the law; therefore, he also sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.
We used to be enslaved under the Law, but because God sent his Son and his Spirit into our hearts, we are now God's adopted, adult sons .
In other words, the result of God's sending of his Son and his Spirit into our hearts is to make us his sons and heirs .
If you used to be enslaved to false gods, but now know the true God, how can you then turn back to slavery?
Your turning back to slavery makes me (Paul) fear that my labor was useless.