"Brethren, I have written a letter unto you" (Hebrews 13:22).

Archived Devotionals

August 24, 2020

Truth or Consequences?

My Dear Friend,

      Early in my writing ministry I received a God-lesson I never forgot. I don't want you to forget it either.

     I was writing pieces for a Christian publication out of Los Angeles at the time. One day the editor forwarded a letter to me with an inquiry. Oh goody, a compliment! But this was more valuable than a compliment; it was a correction. The reader, a lady, asked for the source of an Oswald Chambers statement I had quoted. No problem, this will be easy, I thought to myself.

     But after looking through all Chambers' books, I received a rude surprise. My quote was incorrect. It was the same in essence but not verbatim - and I had placed it inside quotation marks, indicating it was a verbatim quote!

     Embarrassed, I set about to write the dear lady back. Then I noticed her return address: "Truth or Consequences, New Mexico!" Immediately, the God-lesson hit me. I had failed to tell the truth and this embarrassing moment was the consequence. From that day to this, I never quote something without meticulously checking the original. Usually twice.

     But this lesson has larger implications for us all: Every time we in any way fail to tell the truth, there will be adverse consequences for someone, somewhere, somehow.

     When Philippi's jailer asked Paul, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul answered with the truth: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:30-31). Any other answer, however religious or astute or philosophical, and the jailer and his household would have been eternally lost.

     When Nathan challenged David over his sin, David responded with the truth, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Samuel 12:13). Anything less truthful, and David would not have been restored to right relationship with God or the throne of Israel.

     When the Judaizers confused the fledgling Antioch church with erroneous teaching, Paul responded with the truth. In no uncertain terms, Paul asserted Gentiles did not have to become Jewish proselytes to be saved. If he had said anything less or other, the first Gentile church, and perhaps the whole church age, may have never recovered.

     Are we as truthful? When we've sinned? When we're asked the way of salvation? When we're asked our opinion of egregious, fundamental errors? When asked for biblical counsel by a sin-troubled soul earnestly seeking help? When asked to confirm or deny gossip or hearsay that has slandered an innocent man or woman? When asked if homosexuality is biblical, abortion is a woman's right, or gender is a human choice?

     In all these scenarios we must step up and speak up, "speaking the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). Our choice is simple: be credible or be convicted! Speak truth or expect consequences!

     You see, our Lord Jesus prophesied the truth will always come out, sooner or later, and when it does all will know who told the truth and who did not. "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; and hidden that shall not be known" (Matthew 10:26). This makes our choice even clearer. We will speak the truth now, with honor, or we will speak it later, with dishonor! But speak the truth, we will. "Every knee" will bow and "every tongue" confess (Philippians 2:10-11).

     If we don't receive the truth, there are adverse consequences. When ministers teach us Bible truths that convict us, and we spurn those truths because they humble us, immediately we erect a wall of separation between our hearts and the living Truth, Jesus. Or, if we won't receive true (accurate) correction about faults that make us difficult to live or work with, we remain uncorrected, out of fellowship, and a disappointment to Christ and other Christians.

     If we don't follow the truth, there are unpleasant consequences. Paul taught, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). If to follow our own wisdom we reject the wiser leading of God's Spirit, we will one day realize how unwise we were - and have to work our way through a thick tangled web of troublesome consequences we unwisely created.

     If we fail to seek biblical truth, and study it diligently, there are adverse consequences. Because we refused to seek God's silver and gold - His Word - one day spiritual poverty will strike. We will not have enough Bible knowledge to recognize the subtle errors of false teachers because we never took the time to learn God's truth sufficiently. Ignorance and deception about God and eternal truth are heavy consequences to pay in any generation, but especially in our last-days generation when deceit and lies are everywhere, and growing by the hour!

     Above all, if we fail to obey the truth, we will certainly rue it. Jesus ended His greatest sermon with His greatest warning: Christians who hear and obey biblical teaching will stand victorious in the storms of life - but Christians who attend the same churches and sit in the same pews and hear the same pastors give the same biblical teachings but do not obey them will fall (Matthew 7:24-27). And many will fall with them!

     Years ago, that dear reader from Truth or Consequences gave me a first-class education in veracity. This piece is my diploma. As you examine it, may it educate you, too, my friend, and keep you from many an adverse consequence.

Speaking the truth,

Greg Hinnant
Greg Hinnant Ministries

       Greg Hinnant Ministries
PO Box 788, High Point, NC 27261