Boldness in the Day of Judgement
Girdle of Truth (available from Present Truth Publishers)

1 John 4:13-17

John says, teaching us under the Holy Spirit, "Herein is love with us made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world." John himself afterwards experienced the boldness of which this Scripture speaks. 

In the Isle of Patmos, he was brought into a day of Judgment. The first revelation he had there of the Lord Jesus Christ was a revelation of Him in judicial glory. He saw the Son of man standing among the golden candlesticks, with eyes as a flame of fire, a voice as of many waters, a countenance as the sun shining in its power, and with feet like fine brass, as burning in a furnace. And all this, and more of the like kind, was a solemn, terrible exhibition of Christ in the place of judgment. Before Him, John falls as one dead. But the Lord speaks comfortably to him. "Fear not," says He, "I am the First and the Last, and the Living One; and I became dead, and behold, I am living to the ages of ages, and have the keys of death and of hades." By this, He would impart to His servant, though now in the presence of judicial glory, all the virtue of His own condition, as the One who was in the place of victory over all the power of the enemy. As He Himself was, so would He have John to be (see Rev. 1). 

This was excellent and wonderful, and full of blessing. And John at once proves in his soul the power of all this, and acquires "boldness" in that "day of judgment." For now he listens to the voice of this Son of man challenging and judging the churches, but he listens unmoved (enjoying the boldness he had acquired) from beginning to end. 

This, I may say, has a great character in it. But still more. Another scene of judgment succeeds this of the Son of man among the candlesticks, and John is set in the presence of it. He is summoned by the sound of a trumpet to heaven, and heaven was then preparing itself for judgment. Thrones were there, and they were thrones of judgment, for the elders which sat on them were clothed in white raiment; and voices, lightning, and thunder were seen and heard there, witnesses that the Lord was about to rise up out of His holy place for judgment and in wrath. 

But John still maintains the boldness he had acquired. And so all through the action of the book. Trumpets, vials, earthquakes, fire, smoke, and other terrible sights and symbols, enough to make a Moses quake, as in a day of Sinai, pass before him. The rider on the white horse and the great white throne are seen, and also the scene of "the second death" in its terrors. But John is as unmoved as the living creatures and crowned elders themselves. They were on high, but he was still "in this world;" they were glorified, but he was still in the body; but he is as calm as they are. As they were, so was he--such was his boldness in that day of judgment. And when the sealed book is seen in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, and a loud voice, as of a strong angel challenges all to loose it, instead of dreading the moment when such an awful volume should be opened, he weeps because no one was found equal to do so. He longs to have the secret of the throne disclosed, though that throne was a throne of judgment. 

Thus is it with John in the Book of the Apocalypse. But we may observe that something of this same security and its attending boldness, in days of judgment, had been enjoyed by the elect of God in earlier times--as in the time of the flood, in the day of the overthrow of Sodom, at the time of the exodus, and also at the time of the passage of the Jordan. These were days of judgment; but the security thrown around the elect was nothing less than God's own. He was imparting His own safety, so to speak, to His people then. 

He shut Noah in the ark with His own hand. The waters were then the ministers of His judgment, but his hand kept them outside. And they could no more prevail over God's hand, than they could over His throne. His safety, therefore, was Noah's. As He was, so was Noah, in that day of judgment. 

So in the judgment of the cities of the plain, even in the behalf of such an one as Lot. Lot was saved so as by fire, out of the fire--a salvation in nowise honorable to himself. He suffered loss, for his works were all burnt up. But the angel could do nothing till Lot was clean delivered. And I ask, was not that also as it were divine security? 

In the night of Egypt, it was the same. He who carried the sword had appointed the blood. He to whom the vengeance belonged, the Judge who was executing the judgment, had ordained and pledged the deliverance. "When I see the blood, I will pass over." Was not this imparting His own security again to His people in a day of judgment? I say not how far they may have experienced or tasted "boldness" in their spirit, but this was title to it. 

And so, in the passage of the Jordan. The waters were then, as in the day of Noah, ready to overflow their banks, as in the time of harvest. But the priests were in the midst of them, and the ark or the presence of God likewise. And there the ark and the priests remained till all the people had passed over. Jesus was in the boat, and He must sink if the disciples did. The safety of the camp was as the safety of the ark. As it was, so were they, though amid the swellings of Jordan. The judgment of Canaan was beginning, but Israel was under divine securities. 

All this witnesses again and again how the Lord shares His own condition with His elect in the hour of their most solemn necessity. He is beyond judgment, above it, the executor of it, but the value of His own place He imparts to them, while they are still in the place or world that is to be judged. 

Thus do we see it from the beginning. But our Scripture (1 John 4:13-17) tells us that we now enter on our title to this same boldness in somewhat a new way

The apostle declares that "the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world," and that the love which thus deals with us is a "perfect" love. That the Father should so set His heart upon our return to Him--that in order to accomplish it, He should send the Son from the bosom, this is perfect love. And the fruit of this perfect love is nothing less than this (and of course it could not be), that we have boldness in the day of judgment.  

Noah, as we have seen, had boldness in such a day, because the hand of God had shut him in. Lot also, because the angel who acted under the God of judgment, could do nothing till Lot was safe. So Israel in Egypt, and Israel in the Jordan, as we have also seen, had like divine security from the ordinance or presence of God. But we, the saints of this gospel-day, whom the Holy Spirit is teaching through the apostle, have boldness in the coming day of judgment by a more excellent and wonderful title--because we are loved with a perfect love. God has put the value of the Son of the bosom upon us, and the love that has done that is a perfect love. 

This surpasses. Our boldness has truly a wondrous character attached to it. It is conferred on us, not merely by the hand, or by the ordinance of God; but by His love. Noah, and Lot, and the children of Israel, in their several days of judgment, might have said, "As He is, so are we;" because God had made Himself their security. His safety was theirs, as we have seen. But we, the saints of this day, resolve {commit} our security into the love of God, as they did into the hand or ordinance of God. The security is the same--equal and perfect in each case. But ours is the witness of a nearer and more affecting title: ours is personal. Noah was in the ark; we are in God. "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God." And in a new sense we say, "As He is, so are we in this world." We are loved as He is--"accepted," as we read in another place, "in the Beloved." We are not only secured, but loved. Ours is boldness in the day of judgment, because there is with us or upon us the perfect love of Him to whom judgment belongs.