Salvation vs. the Christian life
The “Christian life” is not easy and does involve much work.
Salvation is different. If you’re working for God’s love and acceptance and salvation from the punishment we’re all rightly due, then you still haven’t accepted (or received) God’s grace.
All we need to do, all we can do is to accept God’s terms:
Admit we’re not God. Admit God owes us nothing but punishment. Reject sin as your desire and ask for the mercy and grace that we do not deserve. Trust in God’s work on our behalf — that God himself came to earth in human form (Jesus Christ) and was punished by death on the cross which was taking the punishment that was due us, then rose from the dead proving his power over Sin. Humility is the key. If we claim to have done anything that in any way entitles us to God’s grace and mercy we are rejected for our pride and our rejection of God’s free gift. It is a free gift of God, but it must be accepted on God’s terms.
Once we truly rely on God and not on ourselves we realize how much God loves us and have a new heart that desires to attempt to live in a way that is pleasing to God. But it is not that lifestyle that is pleasing to God that gets us to heaven. That is only by God’s grace. Even the faith to trust in God’s grace is a gift of God’s grace.