God created us for fellowship. In the midst of judgment, He declared His love for us; in the midst of sin, He gave His Son! God longs to restore us to intimate fellowship with Him.
A question sometimes follows: If the goal of Christianity is to restore us to a relationship with God, then why doctrine? Why not simply concentrate on having a loving relationship with God?
Let’s think of a human illustration: A couple falls in love and wants to deepen their relationship with each other. Why should they be interested in sharing anything about themselves with each other? Meaningful relationships are not without content. Out of love, couples communicate understanding and knowledge so that they might meaningfully engage each other.
Christ defines eternal life in terms of an intimate relationship that arises within the context of knowledge. “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).
Is knowledge important? Would we say, “Christ, I want a relationship with You, but I don’t want to know You”? Through the prophet Hosea God promised: “I will betroth you to me forever” (Hosea 2:19). But God laments that His “people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6; cf. Hosea 2:8; 4:1; 6:6; 11:12; Rom. 10:2).
False doctrine (knowledge) leads to false concepts about God. For example, the concept of the natural immortality of the soul leads to the doctrine of eternal hellfire in which the wicked burn forever. This, in turn, leads to the notion of a God who enjoys torturing the wicked throughout eternity.
Let’s rejoice in the knowledge of the only true God, so that we might fall in love with Him as He truly is!