The words below are copied from my reply to a comment on my recent post “The point of Jesus Ministry.” So you might read the comment on that post before reading what follows.
Exactly…we don’t know hearts. We know actions or “fruit” as Jesus calls it. And I am making the case, in “The point of Jesus’ Ministry, that if we are to judge fruit, as Jesus says, there are many who are not religious, not claiming Christian faith but live more Christ-like lives. And I think that pleases God. Believing in Jesus, might not mean an epistemological knowledge of Jesus but living life like he did. John 14:6 says “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through (or by) me.” I don’t think that this is knowledge of Jesus, but life lived like unto Jesus. Another example is found in Hebrews 11 where in verse 25 Moses is said to have chosen the “abuse of Christ,” which means either that he had a knowledge of Christ (which is unlikely) and therefore suffered for Christ, or that without any knowledge of Christ (more likely) that his choice to suffer with and for others exemplified a similar suffering like unto that which Christ would willfully choose to suffer on our behalf. So if the latter is what the author of Hebrews is pointing to, then he is praising Moses for acting like Jesus, not for acting out of a knowledge of Christ.
Now I know that this is a leap for some. But I am more and more convinced that our conceptual knowledge, or that which we think we know for sure about Jesus and God is not what generates “Godliness” in us, but it is the lives lived like or in the character of Jesus, whether with or without epistemological knowing.