Translation:You will receive merit from doing good things.
It sounds kind of different, from main-stream English, but it makes sense in a Catholic context. A lot of my relatives on my mom's side of the family are Catholic, and to the best of my understanding they try to do good works to earn merits to more or less buy years out of Purgatory and get to Heaven faster. This is in contrast to the Protestant belief that there is only Heaven and Hell and people get to Heaven by faith rather than works.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV https://bible.com/bible/59/eph.2.8-10.ESV
Does the word "pahala" have inherent religious connotations, or only when used in religious context? For example, "merit" in English isn't inherently religious. (In fact, I remember we had a merit system at school.) But obviously, when used in religious context, its meaning changes slightly.
The word 'pahala' actually came from Sanskrit. If a word in Nusantara came from Sanskrit, it means that it may be linked to religious connotations since it came from pre-Islamic Hinduism in the Nusantara.
There are many words like this, e.g.: pahala, neraka, surga, bakti, dewa, dewi, manusia, puja, suami, sastra, sakti, ratna, panca-, etc.