W. Reid - Second Speaker at Funeral Service of Willie Gill - West Hanney, England - Tuesday, June 5, 1951

I do not know whether I will say very much or little. I would like to read a verse or two, "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but our­selves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:21-23)

 

I have taken quite a bit of notice lately of this expression, "the redemp­tion of our body," and we know what Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise to the day of redemption, and he spoke again of the “redemption of the purchased possession" and then when Jesus was speaking to the disciples and telling them about the things that would come upon the earth, "When ye see things coming to pass, lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh." Now that redemption that Jesus spoke to the disciples could not have been the redemption of their souls in the sense of Christ having died to redeem them and all mankind. And this day of redemption that Paul referred to in writing to the Ephesians, it could not have been the day of redemption that Christ accomplished in His death for all mankind because those people were already redeemed by the blood of Christ, just the same as we have, and Paul speaking here of the redemption of their bodies, it comes under the same heading.

 

I have been thinking lately and reading for more than a year quite a bit about this thing and looking into it and there is a verse in the book of Hosea where the Lord says, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave, I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction; repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." (Chapter 13:14)


I like that latter expression, "repentance shall be hid from mine eyes." It was just as if the Lord was saying, "I am not going to change My mind and I will never stop ransoming them from the power of the grave and redeeming them from death." It is just what the Lord has planned for us all and what I would say of our brother Willie Gill, whose body is present with us today - it is just a matter of him being delivered from the body of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Now there is a deliverance that comes to all of us when we yield our hearts to God and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us.

 

These people at Rome had that deliverance but still, just like ourselves, they had the flesh still with them, and Paul was telling them that they must not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit, and so long as we are in these bodies we shall have this battle to fight not to walk after the flesh but after the Spirit, but the time will come when that battle will be finished when the creature will he delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. I like to think of that. I referred a little to this at the convention.

 

One day, when I had a wire that a certain brother had passed away and asking me if I would attend the funeral, I said, “Well, that is one less in God's family here but one more in God's family in Heaven,” and that is what happens. God brings people into His family here on earth and when the time comes when He sees it good, He transfers them from His family on earth to His family in Heaven and then we join up with them on the other side.

 

When I heard of our brother Willie's death, it flashed into my mind at once, he is no longer with us on earth but he is one with those in God's family on the other side and on the day when we received that wire the thought came into my mind. How was this family in Heaven built up? The first I thought of was Abel when Cain killed him, he was the first, and since that time the family has been getting bigger and it has only got bigger as God has transferred His children on earth, and that is what will happen with all of us.

 

Our part is not to worry how, where, or when we would be transferred. I do not worry about that any more. What I worry about, and what we all need to worry about is how we live when here and it is God's business to transfer us when He sees good. I believe more than ever God knows best because He is building up a great family on the other side. I believe we shall see it when we get over there; that the object of God was that He could build up a family and through whom He could show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us.

 

That has been on my mind lately, "That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us." That was what those people in Ephesus where quickened for and was why they were found sitting in heavenly places. It was that later on in the ages to come, God might shew His kindness to them and to us. God knows best when to transfer us, whether to let us remain here or to take us. We should be satisfied with what God chooses for us.

 

Before I finish, I would like to say a little about this redemption of the body. You know how redemption takes place. When Christ redeemed us, He redeemed us by putting Himself in our room and stead. He suffered Himself a sacrifice which was accepted by God for all mankind. It has always taken the better to redeem the worst, it has always taken the good to redeem the bad, and Christ was the Good to redeem us that were bad.

 

There was a little in the Old Testament I enjoyed in connection with this redemption then the Lord told the children of Israel that the firstling of all animals was to be offered. This was an easy thing when it was a clean animal but when it was an unclean animal like the ass, it had to be redeemed by a lamb and if not to break its neck. This is just like us. We were like the unclean ass redeemed by Jesus, the Clean and Spotless Lamb of God. When our bodies are redeemed, you know how they are redeemed, by a new and better body being put in the place of the old one. This old corruptible one can never be made incorruptible, never pass on to be with God. That is the summing up of I Corinthians 15:50 when Paul said, "Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." And God's plan is that the dust shall return to dust again.

 

“Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward" (Ecclesiastes 3:20-21) the spirit to return to God that it would be clothed some day with a new and incorruptible body, and that is how the old corruptible body is redeemed. When God's time comes, He will give to us this incorruptible

body if we continue to live for the Lord. I often wish I could make it clear to these people that these bodies are to be redeemed, and then we will be able to live forever with the Lord. Paul in writing to Timothy says, "…according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Jesus Christ… who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel," (II Timothy 1:9-10) and that is what you and I can pass on to.

Before I stop I would say that it was in this part of England that I first got to know Willie Gill intimately.  In 190?, in the North of Ireland when I went into that Convention, I saw three men sitting in the front just as we three are sitting here today and Willie was one on the left-hand side as I looked up.  I never spoke to him but that day we met, some of us, face to face, and he and another man shook hands, but that was just about all I got to know of him at that Convention. 

 

Then I was sent to this part with Andy Robb in 1904. He was staying with Charlie Lowe.  Andy had gone over to another part and he had sent for me. When I got there Charlie and another man were digging and Willie came in and he asked me how I was getting on. He knew I was a stranger and I told him what I had been doing and I never forget how glad he was that I had gone out and gathered the potatoes instead of sitting it the house. He told me that he was glad I did not sit in the house and had gone out to do a little and it was an encouragement to me. Then I remember how he came along to get us at Atworth where we were preaching and we had some walks and talks together in that village, and from that (time?) on, I got to know him better.

 

In 1913, I came back from Africa. I was going to America and Willie stopped me and asked me to go to Scotland and all these years I have known him pretty well, and I am glad to be here, not to see his dead body, but to be here at his funeral and to say that I could claim that he is one of the best friends that I have had in life and I hope we will all have grace to live and finish in the right way as he has done.