This is a heavy verse. And I don't want to attempt to make any grand theological statements. I know I can't earn my way to heaven. It's a free gift, I get it, but this passage troubles me. What if I'm missing the "main thing". The reason I was created. Could it be that the most important thing is to "know him"? Maybe "knowing him" should come before everything else. Maybe I should spend less time worrying about my life, and spend more time pressing into him in prayer and meditating on his word. Maybe eveything in this life and the next will become less worrisome and trivial if I would put this one thing first. Maybe God is more interested in knowing us, than how well we do everything else?
Every time I come across or hear this passage, I can't help but wonder, Will he know me? And will I know him?
This passage isn't meant to terrify us. If anything we should draw tremendous comfort and encouragement from it instead. The creator of the universe cares deeply for each of us. He wants us to share our life and our experiences with him, and slowly, ever so slowly, be conformed to his likeness, and find true fulfillment and purpose in Him.
In turn, our response should be to love and serve others, and to share the hope and truth of the Gospel.