An 8:00 am flight out of Detroit, through Phoenix, to Los Angeles seemed simple enough. The airport was only fifteen minutes from the hotel, and after returning my rental car, I was two and half hours early—just like I had planned. The check-in area was unusually busy and airline agents were everywhere barking orders and handing out white sheets of paper. Police with sniff dogs were walking at a brisk pace through the crowds.
Upon finding the e-ticket line at my airline, I secured one of these leaflets. It was obviously printed hurriedly, but the message was clear: No liquids or gels of any kind were being allowed on the airplanes. Toothpaste, eye-drops, perfume, and deodorant were all banned from carry-on luggage.
It was Thursday, August 10, 2006, and earlier that morning a terrorist plot to blow up ten airplanes over the Atlantic through liquid bombs was foiled in Britain. As a result, the nation was under high-alert, and new security measures were being implemented. I thought quickly about what was in my carry-on and knew that there was nothing in there that would be a problem. I do have several sermons that have “bombed,” but I was pretty sure I had left those at home! The majority of people in line were very nonchalant about the leaflet being distributed. One lady in front of me asked to see mine and said, “Oh, is this that liquid thing?” After glancing at it, she handed it back as if it had nothing to do with her.
After securing my boarding passes, I proceeded a few feet to the security check line which was literally a half mile long. It was while I was in line that I became aware of what had happened in Great Britain and was sure glad that I had arrived early. One couple near me discovered that they had some yogurt in their bag. The lady was looking for a trash can to throw it away when her husband said, “Why don’t you just eat it!” I chimed in with, “You have time! In fact, if you would like to grill a steak, fry a couple of eggs, and make hash browns—you have time!”
As we neared the security check point an hour and a half later, the floor along the way was becoming increasingly littered with various articles that were now being “unloaded” from passenger’s carry-on bags. Expensive perfume, toothpaste, hair gel, nasal spray, bottled water, and eye-drops were literally everywhere! I noticed the lady who had been in line with me earlier and had disregarded the leaflet was now tipping her purse upside down and dumping everything on the floor. TSA officials were literally pushing wheelbarrows filled with various bottles and containers to nearby dumpsters. It was amazing. A stewardess who was right in front of me as we approached the scanner had her lunch (a can of unopened tuna fish) confiscated because it was packed in spring water! Nothing was getting by the security personnel no matter how hard people tried or complained about the situation.
I thought of what the Bible says about Heaven in Revelation 21:27, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Millions of people have been given that message down through the centuries and yet, like the lady in line, they think it doesn’t apply to them. Somehow they have convinced themselves that they will get past the judgment and into Heaven with sin still in their lives. They think God won’t care or notice that they have rejected Jesus Christ—their only hope of eternal life. For it was Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6b). In Acts 4:12 Peter declared, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
What about us as Christians? Do we really think that we can sneak our sin past a holy God? We have read God’s “Leaflet.” Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoso covereth his sins shall not prosper.” Isaiah 29:15 reminds us, “Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?” Psalm 90:8 clearly shows us the omniscience of God, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” Regardless of how smart we are or how well we have concealed our sin from others, Hebrews 4:13 says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
It is kind of comical actually—how many people really need their toothpaste or hair gel on an airplane? The truth is our sin isn’t that valuable either. As much as we like to rationalize its importance and hang on to it, it really isn’t beneficial to our lives. In fact, it is the very thing that the devil plans to use to “blow up” our lives! And we sure will not want it or need it in Heaven, so we may as well give it up now. Everything you need—you have in Christ.
Now is the time to “unload” your baggage. Your sin isn’t going to make it through God’s security system! And by the way, it’s not that hard. The “Leaflet” says, “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7–9).