Galatians 6:11-18: Boasting in the Cross

Galatians 6:11‑18  •  23 min. read  •  grade level: 6
“See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand. As many as are wishing to have a good appearance in (the) flesh, these are compelling you to receive circumcision, only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of the Christ. For neither the ones having already received circumcision, do themselves observe law, but they are wishing you to receive circumcision in order that they may boast in your flesh. But for me, far be it to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom to me (the) world is crucified, and Ito (the) world. For neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision, but new creation. And as many as shall walk in line [or, in step] by this rule, peace on them and mercy, even on the Israel of God.
"For the rest, let no one cause troubles to me, for I am carrying in my body the brands of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (be) with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” vss. 11-18.
“See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand.” We must remember that Paul was a highly educated man, both in Greek learning at Tarsus (his native place), and in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel, who was one of the wisest and most famous of the Jewish Rabbis. See Acts 22:3; 5:343I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. (Acts 22:3)
34Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; (Acts 5:34)
. But now, perhaps, the “hands” (Acts 20:3434Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. (Acts 20:34)) of Paul had become more accustomed to tent-making than to handling a pen; but it seems clear from these words just quoted that the Apostle wrote the whole epistle to the Galatians with his own hand. Probably this is the only epistle Paul wrote himself. He generally used a friend to write for him, while he dictated what he wished to say. (For example, in Rom. 16:2222I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. (Romans 16:22) we read: “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.” That means that while Paul dictated, Tertius wrote down the words for him.) With regard to the epistle to the Galatians, we cannot be quite sure that Paul wrote the whole epistle, as it may mean that he only wrote the last part of the epistle, quoted above. Paul usually wrote with his own hand a few words at the end of each epistle, as a guarantee that the epistle was genuine, for evidently there were those who forged the Apostle’s name, and sent out letters that pretended to be from him, but were not genuine. See 2 Thess. 2:22That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (2 Thessalonians 2:2)“Be not soon shaken in mind... nor by word, nor by letter as [if it were] from us.”
These words we are now considering may be his usual personal ending written by his own hand in large letters; but on the other hand it seems more probably that it means that Paul wrote the whole epistle. As far as I know, it is not possible to be quite certain which is the meaning. If it means the whole letter was written by Paul, we can very well understand that in a matter that was so urgent as these Christians giving up the faith of Christ to go to the Jewish law, the Apostle may have felt that he could not have anyone come between himself and these dear wandering sheep; and so his own hand must write every word. There were two styles of writing in use at the time Paul wrote this epistle. One style used large letters each one separate from the other like printed letters; the other style was more like our hand-writing, the letters were small and joined together. Paul evidently used the large bold letters; and that style was very suitable, for the subject is of such fundamental importance, and the large bold letters suited this. May God grant that this whole epistle should be written in our hearts with such great, large, bold letters, that we may never forget or lose sight of them.
“As many as are wishing to have a good appearance in (the) flesh, these are compelling you to receive circumcision, only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.” The words “are compelling” mean they were trying hard at that time, as they had tried with Titus, to force the Galatians to be circumcised; but these words do not mean they had succeeded. They did not succeed with Titus. You remember that in our last chapter, we considered v.8: “The one sowing unto his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption.” Now we read of those who are trying to make a good appearance in the flesh. These were sowing to the flesh, and the harvest would be corruption. The ones who were seeking to compel the Galatians to be circumcised were only doing it to make a good appearance, and to escape persecution. It was the Jews who kept stirring up the persecution as we have seen. But why would the Jews persecute anybody who was making himself like a Jew? Why persecute anybody who was upholding and spreading the Jewish law and the Jewish ceremonies? We in China know how easy it is for us to do something that will help us to escape persecution. None of us likes persecution, and the Galatian Christians were no different from us in this matter. In their hearts perhaps they said, Circumcision is a small affair, and if it helps me to escape persecution, I will receive circumcision. But they forgot that the one who received circumcision put himself on the ground of being a Jew, and he was now responsible to keep the whole law, and if he did not do so, then he must perish. Christ must be all, or nothing. No man can have Christ and circumcision; no man can be saved by Christ and the law. Every man must choose, and if he chooses Christ, then he must forever turn away from the law and from circumcision. These men teaching the law did not really seek God’s glory, or the blessing of the Galatians, but only their own safety. “For even the ones having (already) received circumcision [or, the circumcision party], they themselves do not observe the law, but they are wishing you to receive circumcision in order that they may boast in your flesh.” The Galatians had only to watch these teachers of the law to see that they themselves did not observe the law; why then should the Galatians follow them? For the law could only curse anyone who did not keep it. But if these law teachers could write back to Jerusalem and tell the Jews there that so many Galatian Gentiles had received circumcision through their labors, it would bring much fleshly glory to them. In this way they were boasting in the flesh of the Galatians, but what a miserable boast it was! It was for a Gentile to turn Jew, to take on a load that no Jew had ever been able to bear, to put himself under a curse that did not belong to him! But more than this, we may see through all these words that these law teachers were not honest, truthful, upright men. They knew they did not keep the law, and they knew the Galatians could not keep it; yet they were doing all in their power to bind this burden, that they knew they could not bear, upon them. They were just like the Pharisees in the time of our Lord— hypocrites. (Matt. 23:4-154For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. 13But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. 14Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (Matthew 23:4‑15).)
It is remarkable that we find the same thing today; those who are law teachers, whether they teach the law of Moses, or whether they are seeking to make the Lord’s people subject to rules and regulations and traditions of men; such teachers are nearly always dishonest and untruthful. If you look at 1 Tim. 4:1-61Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. (1 Timothy 4:1‑6), you will see that there we read of deceiving spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, cauterized as to their own conscience, forbidding to marry, (bidding) to abstain from meats. These law teachers in Galatia were very much like this; indeed the Spirit of God may have had just such men before Him, as He wrote these words. Those who teach the law today, do not keep the law, any more than the law teachers in Galatia kept it. This professing what they do not carry out makes a man dishonest, makes him a hypocrite; he pretends to be what he is not. He is deceiving himself, as we read in vs. 7, and as he continues to deceive himself, his conscience gradually becomes dead, cauterized, as with a hot iron, so that it no longer has any feeling; and without shame they can stand up and teach what they know is not the truth. This was true in Galatia and it is equally true today. In Eph. 4:18, 1918Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:18‑19) we read of men’s hearts becoming callous, so they no longer feel pain when they commit sin. Notice that “law” is without the article. It does not refer only to the law of Moses, but also to the principle of law in general. They were careless even with regard to matters they should have observed.
“But for me, far be it to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom [or, through which] to me (the) world is crucified, and I to (the) world.” These law teachers were boasting in the proselytes they were making among the Galatian Christians. They were boasting over each one who received circumcision. They were boasting in the flesh. Paul had only one boast— the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! (See 1 Cor. 1:17-2417For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17‑24).) To most people today His cross is still a shame and a scandal. (ch. 5:11.) Even most Christians today are ashamed to mention His cross as they go about their daily labors. To Paul, it was all his glory, it was all his boast. Paul could exclaim: “The Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me!” (ch. 2:20). Paul could cry: Yes, gave Himself for me, to die on a Roman gibbet, like the lowest and worst criminal; and all because He took my place. That was the cross! It is not the cross as we see it so often printed and painted, or made up in gold or silver or wood ornaments. That was not the cross in which Paul boasted, but the cruel, rough, wicked murder of God’s only begotten Son, who went to that cross willingly, for Paul’s sake, and for my sake. Is that not enough to make me boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ? Could I ever be ashamed of His cross when I remember that He went to that cross for me? May God help us to follow Paul in this blessed verse.
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the cross of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingling down;
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
To Christ, who won for sinners grace,
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.
I. Watts
To seek a good appearance, or even a religious appearance before the world, is to seek the honor of the world which has dishonored Christ— not only dishonored Him, but rejected Him and nailed Him on a cross. That cross is to me salvation. It is the wonderful proof of the love of God, and of the love of His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. But that cross was, to Him, shame, dishonor, suffering that no tongue can ever tell. “Thou hast known My reproach, and My shame, and My dishonor.... Reproach hath broken My heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave Me also gall for My meat; and in My thirst they gave Me vinegar to drink.” Psa. 69:19-2119Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor: mine adversaries are all before thee. 20Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. 21They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. (Psalm 69:19‑21). “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:3434And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mark 15:34)). (See also Matt. 27:4646And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).) Who can ever tell, to all eternity, the unfathomable depths of sorrow in these words? That is the cross. He bore it for me, for you, for Paul! O reader, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow, which is done unto Me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger” (Lam. 1:1212Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. (Lamentations 1:12)). If we have in any small measure entered into that sorrow, surely we must cry with Paul, “By whom the world to me is crucified, and I to (the) world.” Or it may be just as truly read: “By it [the cross] the world to me is crucified.”
Paul did not want the honor of a world which at that cross dishonored Paul’s Lord. He would boast in that cross, but that was his only boast. He would not boast in his sufferings or his labors or his revelations— only in the cross. Paul, at the cross, identified himself with Christ. He was crucified to the world which had crucified His Master, and likewise the world was crucified to him. They had nothing in common. There was no friendship between them. The world spurned Paul, as Paul spurned the world. They were crucified to each other. The world has shown by the cross what it really is. We must choose whether to go on with the world that crucified Christ, or whether we shall boast in the cross on which that world nailed Him. “The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:44Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)). “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:1515Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)).
“For neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision, but new creation.” In the cross these old outward forms and ceremonies all passed away. They were nothing. In themselves they were absolutely useless. As a sign of trusting to the law, they could only bring the law’s curse. But actually they were nothing. In ch. 5:6 we had already read almost the same words: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision has any power, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love.” Circumcision has no power, and is nothing. But what does matter is new creation. This word “new” means something fresh, that we have not had before. Old things have passed away at the cross; for the believer, all is new.
We have now:
We shall have hereafter:
We enter this new creation by the new birth. We must be born again if we would enter here. (John 3.) That is what matters. The new birth brings with it eternal life, salvation, forgiveness of sins, entrance into the Father’s family; by it we become children, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:1717And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17).) Yes, new creation matters. It is truly something, but circumcision and uncircumcision are nothing. Do they want a rule? Must they have a rule to walk by? Very good. This rule, the rule of the new creation, the rule of the new birth, is the rule for us to walk by now. This word means to walk in line. It is the same word as we had in ch. 5:25. We might say, “As many as keep step by this rule”; to them the Apostle says, “Peace on them and mercy, even on the Israel of God.” The law can only bring trouble and a curse. In contrast to the trouble these law teachers had brought, the Apostle sends a message of peace to those who walk by the rule of the new creation. “Peace on them and mercy” (vs. 16). Mercy is generally not included in the greetings to an assembly, but only to individuals. (See 1 Tim. 1:22Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Timothy 1:2); 2 Tim. 1:22To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2); Titus 1:44To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Titus 1:4).) But in Galatia there were the true ones in the assemblies, and in this time of trouble they needed mercy. This is probably the only case where mercy is wished to assemblies.
The law teachers were boasting in the Galatians who had received circumcision, and so outwardly had become Jews. But this did not make them God’s people. In ch. 3:7, 9, 29, we find much the same thought. “The ones on the principle of faith, these are the sons of Abraham.” So now in contrast to the false teachers making false Jews, the Apostle cries in triumph, these are “the Israel of God” (vs. 16). These who walk by the rule of the new creation are the true Israelites, not those wearing the badge of circumcision. The people of Israel had three names: Hebrews, Jews and Israelites. Jews were especially those of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, though many others had joined them under this name. “Israel” means “prince of God,” and was the name given to Jacob by God Himself when he wrestled with the angel and prevailed. “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob [which means cheater], but Israel [a prince of God]: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Gen. 32:2828And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Genesis 32:28). This name includes all the descendants of Jacob, all the twelve tribes, not the two tribes only as the name “Jew” means. It is most interesting to notice that this name Israel, is the name chosen by God’s earthly people today, as they once again begin to take possession of their own land. But the true Israelites are those “born again” into God’s household.
The Apostle has almost finished: “For the rest [which probably means, For the rest of time, from this time forward, or, from henceforth] let no one cause troubles to me, for I am bearing in my body the brands of Jesus.” How much trouble, how much anguish of soul, those Galatians had caused to Paul. Now he must say to those who at one time would have plucked out their eyes for him: “Let no man cause trouble to me.” It is the same expression that the Lord used in Matt. 26:1010When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. (Matthew 26:10) to the disciples about the woman who broke the flask of very precious ointment, while He sat at meat in the house of Simon the leper. These law teachers everywhere were always causing trouble to the Apostle. What brands did they bear as proof of the Master to whom they belonged? None whatever. Circumcision was not “the brand of Jesus” (vs. 17). Circumcision is the brand of the law. But by it, and by preaching circumcision, they escaped the persecution which had covered Paul’s body with scars: scars from being stoned, scars from Roman rods, scars from Jewish stripes, weariness and painfulness, watchings and fastings, hunger and thirst, had all left their marks on his body; not to speak of the daily load of care caused by “all the churches” (ch. 1:2). What a load the Galatian churches were! And these all left their mark. (See 2 Cor. 11:25-2825Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:25‑28).) These were the brands that marked out forever whose he was and whom he served. (Acts 27:2323For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, (Acts 27:23).) Strange, is it not, how few there are today who bear in their body the brands of Jesus? Perhaps it is that we are too much like the law teachers, afraid of persecution for the cross. Paul was not ashamed of these brands. Some of the Jewish refugees from Germany have been branded on their foreheads with “J” (for Jew) and many are ashamed of this brand. Paul gloried in the brands of Jesus that he bore. In the days of old, a Roman master would brand his slaves to show whose they were and whom they served, and a brand was a sign of slavery and disgrace, but not so to Paul. Read the first verse of the epistle to the Romans, the first of Paul’s epistles in your Bible: “Paul, slave of Jesus Christ.” I love those words. They tell me that the Lord Jesus Christ had bought Paul, body, soul and spirit; he belonged utterly and altogether to Jesus Christ, as much as— indeed more than— any slave in Rome belonged to his Roman master. Paul gloried in those words, “slave of Jesus Christ,” and he gloried in the marks he bore, the brands of Jesus.
Very rarely the Apostle uses the holy name of Jesus alone. Perhaps he uses it in this way here to remind us that our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Man, JESUS, also bore brands— the marks of scourging— “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:1414As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: (Isaiah 52:14)). And in His hands and feet and side, He still bears those marks that we will gaze upon in glory, with wonder, love and adoration.
It would be well if the Christians in China, and in other lands too, would learn a lesson from the Apostle Paul in their use of this holy name. How often one’s heart is made sad by the light and careless way in which even Christians use this precious name, without the title that Paul so loves to use, LORD JESUS.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.”
In ch. 1:3 Paul had wished them grace and peace; now in closing he again wishes them grace. How much we all need grace; without it we must perish. Grace, not law, is what the Galatians needed, and it is what we need. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 18). It reminds us of those same words in 2 Cor. 8:99For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)“Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” That is the grace that is to be with our spirits; and if indeed it were so, it would produce in us the mind which was in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 2:55Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5).) With that grace ever with our spirits, and that mind being in us, there would be no fear of the law teachers ever gaining our ear or our hearts. May the Lord keep us— keep our spirits— ever in a deep, deep sense of His own grace.
And the last word of the epistle is “brothers”; it is a most unusual place to put such a word. Was it by accident that this word is the last word of Galatians? No, I am sure it is no accident. It is one of those wonderful touches which makes our inmost hearts know that this Book is inspired by God. The last word tells of love, the love of God’s family; it tells of their oneness, it tells of the Father’s loving care, of His yearning heart, for these sheep that were being led astray. Brothers! Let this sweet word sink down into our hearts. The law does not make us brothers. No, it is just the new birth of which the Holy Spirit has just reminded us that makes us brothers. The Apostle had been in doubt of them, but that last word brothers takes away the doubt; it carries with it the love which his heart must have so longed to send to them, for you note there is not one message of love or greeting, except the general message of grace with which he begins and closes the epistle.
It has been a sad, stern letter that the Apostle has had to write. The first epistle to the Corinthians cost Paul much affliction and anguish of heart and many tears (2 Cor. 2:44For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. (2 Corinthians 2:4)); but this epistle to the Gal. 1 am sure cost him even more. What it cost him, none can say, but what a treasure for us today. It was surely the devil’s work to send those law teachers to Galatia, but there was a higher hand, and a heart of love that guided all; and through this attack of the enemy He forged for us a sword of the finest steel that has met the enemy’s attacks for nineteen hundred years, and is as fresh and strong as ever it was. May God Himself teach our hands to war and our fingers to fight with it (Psa. 144:11<<A Psalm of David.>> Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: (Psalm 144:1)) to His own glory. Amen.
About the Author My father, G. Christopher Willis, was born in Toronto, Canada in 1889. At an early age he accepted the Lord Jesus as His Savior and his whole life was devoted to his Master. As a child he used to read “China’s Millions”, a magazine published by what was the China Inland Mission. He was greatly influenced by this and from that time he wanted to go to China, to share the good news. He studied engineering at McGill University and was married a few years later. When he proposed to my mother it was not “Will you marry me?” but “Will you go to China with me?”
My parents went to China in 1921 with their three little children. They were “independent” missionaries and things were very hard at first. They moved from South China to Kuling, a beautiful spot in the mountains in Northern China, as the children could not tolerate the weather in the South.
Here my father obtained a job supervising the building of a post-office. Many missionaries used to go to Kuling for their holidays, and here, for the first time, my father met “liberal” Christians. He was so shocked at some of their beliefs, that he wrote to England and bought books to refute their teaching. He used to sell these on the side of the road, in front of the post-office building, during his lunch hour. It was here the idea of a good and sound Christian book shop germinated. In 1924 we moved to Shanghai, where my father opened the Christian Book Room which is still operating.
My parents were both interned by the Japanese during the Second World War and were home in Canada for only a short time before they went back. His whole life was spent serving the Lord and he loved and was dearly loved by the Chinese people.
In all his business he found time to write several books and was often working on illuminated Scripture texts. He operated the Christian Book Room and did a great deal evangelizing. He finally returned to Canada in 1967.
Even in his old age he still wrote and worked on his illuminated texts and spent much time visiting. I remember so well, when he was unable to care for himself, and I looked after him, the thick calouses on his knees from all the time he spent in prayer. It can be truly said of him that even though he is now with the Lord his works still speak.
F.M.W. (1989)