The ends which the death of Christ accomplished. In them, though there is much which is peculiar to himself, yet there is also much in which we are made conformable to him.
Did he satisfy Divine justice, and thereby open the way of salvation? Certainly, it is not for us to attempt any thing like this; but, by believing in him, we acquiesce in what he has done and suffered, and so are made conformable to it. Nor is this confined to our first believing: the more we know of Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, the more we are, in this way, made conformable to his death. The death of Christ will give the impression to the very enjoyment of heaven. “The Lamb that was slain” will be the theme of the song for ever.
Was he “manifested to destroy the works of the devil?” If we be made conformable to his death, we also shall wage war with them. If we live in sin, we are of the devil, and must needs be at variance with the death of Christ; sparing that which he was manifested in human nature to destroy. The finished work of Christ upon the cross did not supersede the necessity of our being active in overcoming evil. We must set our feet upon the necks of these spiritual enemies, taking a part in their destruction. Neither did it supersede the necessity of our active perseverance in the use of all means by which we may disengage our souls from the entanglements of sin, praying and struggling from under its dominion, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. It is thus that we have to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling,” which, instead of superseding the death of Christ, is being made conformable to it. From his having died for sin, we are exhorted to die to it, and to live unto God. We cannot enter into the end of Christ’s death, which was to make an end of sin, unless we become dead to sin; nor into his resurrection, without rising with him into newness of life!
In waging war with sin, it is necessary to begin with ourselves, but not to end there. If we be made conformable to the death of Christ, we shall be adverse to sin wherever we find it; avoiding all participation in it through complaisance or worldly interest, and uniting to promote sobriety, righteousness, and godliness in its place.
Finally, Christ died “to save sinners;” and if we be made conformable to his death, we also shall seek their salvation. Some of the first thoughts which occur to a believer’s mind, on having found rest for his own soul, respect the salvation of his kindred and acquaintance; and the direction given to one who had obtained mercy gives countenance to such thoughts and desires: “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”
It is not for ministers only to take an interest in the salvation of men; the army of the Lamb is composed of the whole body of Christians. Every disciple of Jesus should consider himself as a missionary. All, indeed, are not apostles, nor evangelists, nor preachers; but all must be engaged in serving the Lord: some by preaching, some by contributing of their substance, and all by prayer and recommending the Saviour by a holy conversation.
The death of Christ stands connected, in the Divine promise, with the salvation of sinners. This is “the travail of his soul,” which he was to see, and be satisfied; the “joy set before him,” in view of which he endured the cross, and despised the shame. To be made conformable unto his death, therefore, we must combine that which God has combined with it. It is a high honour conferred on us to be instruments in thus saving our fellow sinners, and in thus crowning our Redeemer; nor will it be less advantageous to us, since he has said, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
Excerpt from: “Conformity to the Death of Christ,” Sermon XXII in Sermons and Sketches.
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 315–316). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.