It is my business, then, before you depart, to tell you how you can become transformed into the image of Christ. In the first place, then, my beloved friends, in answer to your inquiry, let me say, you must know Christ as your Redeemer before you can follow him as your Exemplar. Much is said about the example of Jesus, and we scarcely find a man now who does not believe that our Lord was an excellent and holy man, much to be admired. But excellent as his example, it would be impossible to imitate it, had he not also been our sacrifice. Do ye this morning know, that his blood was shed for you? Can ye join with me in this verse,—
“O the sweet wonders of that cross,
Where God the Saviour lov’d and died;
Her noblest life my spirit draws,
From his dear wounds and bleeding side,
” If so, you are on a fair way to imitate Christ. But do not seek to copy him until you are bathed in the fountain filled with blood, draw from his veins. It is not possible for you to do so; your passion will be too strong and corrupt, and you will be building without a foundation, a structure which will be about as stable as a dream. You cannot mould your life to his pattern, until you have had his Spirit, till you have been clothed in his righteousness.
The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, vol. 1 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1855), 163-164. Vol. 1, Sermon No. 20; Titled: Christ’s People – Imitators of Him; Delivered on Sabbath. Click here for a free PDF of this sermon.