I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church. (Matthew 16:18)
Let us begin with two basic principles of common sense.
Principle #1: Obeying God is the key to life. Life can be confusing and difficult enough as it is. But willingly to disobey or ignore God—that is the path to utter disaster. With God, we find peace. Without Him, nothing—not even the greatest worldly successes—can give us peace.
Principle #1 derives from the fundamental role of faith in a stable life. Common-sense principle #2 derives from the fundamental role of reason.
Principle #2 goes like this: Anyone who claims to tell you God’s will for your life is probably wrong and could very well be dangerous. To put it another way: God is God, and we human beings are not. Of one thing we can be sure: When it comes to God’s Almighty mind, we are not familiar with it.
Principle #1 teaches us that living as if God did not exist leads to disaster. #2 shows us that mistaking the word of man for the Word of God also leads to disaster. Obeying God brings pece. But obeying another human being as a substitute God? Misery.
So, now we have two solid principles of common sense. But, Houston, we have a problem. Obey God. Doubt anyone who claims to speak as an oracle of God. Where does this leave us?
It potentially leaves us altogether paralyzed. In order to obey God and find peace, we have to know God’s will. But how are we going to know it? We also have a solemn obligation to doubt anyone who says, “God wills that you do what I say!”
See the problem? This problem has confounded many noble minds. It has troubled many earnest souls. It has mystified some of history’s giants.