I once read a joke that illustrates the hopelessness of religion: A passenger airplane’s engines fall off, and the plane heads for a crash landing. One of the passengers notices that she’s sitting next to a minister, so she yells at him: “You’re a minister! Do something religious.” So he passed the hat and took up an offering.
There is little to be gained from pure religion. Most church-goers who are happy follow the rules their particular church teaches, even without any personal spiritual growth. They feel they are saved because they’ve gone through all the steps.
To be truly saved you need a relationship with Jesus Christ. As the Lord himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). You can’t get to Heaven by following rules laid down by other humans; you’ve got to have that relationship with God through faith in Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
2 Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” 2 Ephesians 2:8-9 — For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.