Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
Note 3 at Ga 4:3: By being under the Law and outside of Christ, we were the young "child" of Ga 4:1-2 without really having any spiritual rights. Paul stated that we "were in bondage under the elements of the world."
The Revised Standard Version translates this phrase as "we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe." If this translation is correct, then Paul was referring to the demonic spirits that brought bondage to our lives before we came to Christ. It all adds up to this: Being under the Law makes us slaves, and the Law does not have the power to free us from the flesh or the demonic realm. In fact, it gives place to the devil, because we are operating in our own strength. Faith in Christ gives us deliverance from both.