WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT KARMA?
Karma is the belief that how we live our lives impacts not only here and now, but also who, and what, we will be when we are reincarnated in the future life. How we have lived in our past lives determines our present place in life and what or who we will be in our next life. When we treat others with love and gratitude, we will reap our caring actions in our next life. Conversely, if we are cruel and nasty in this life, our lot in the next life is going to be less than desirable.
‘Karma’ is known as the natural law of gravity. ‘Karma’ is often seen as ‘a force created by the acts of a person who believes in Buddhism and Hinduism, and many other non-Christian religions, to decide what the next life of that person will be like’ or ‘a force created by the actions of a person that certain people believe causes good or evil things to happen to that person.’ They believe that Karma, not the Christian idea of sin, is the source of the bad things we see today. Those who believe in ‘karma’ attribute the struggles of one’s life to the destructive way a person has lived in the past and now suffers the repercussions of that action.
There is nothing like Karma in the Bible. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” The Bible states that we do not carry on an endless cycle of life, one after the other, either improving or worsening with each succeeding existence. We live only once on this earth, and then we pass into eternity, either in Heaven with God or in Hell, depending on our relationship with God here on earth.
THE IDEA OF ‘KARMA’ IS A WORK BASED, SELF-FOCUSED CONCEPT
The principle of ‘karma’ is that people can save themselves. There isn’t any need for God since all of this lies in the control and action of a person. The Bible says it is impossible to work one way to heaven or through judgment (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:15-17). Therefore, the idea of ‘karma’ is nothing less than a weapon of the devil, intended to make one believe that he or she doesn’t have to depend on God for salvation; instead, through his or her actions, he or she will achieve forgiveness of sins, freedom, and redemption.
YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE
The belief that our action now would result in the rebirth of a good or a bad life, later on, is not biblical since the Bible teaches that we live only once, after which God judges us (Hebrews 9:27). It is the fundamental difference between the Christian faith and the Eastern religions. In the Eastern religions, it is round and round and round. There is no beginning and end to world history. Yet Christians profess that God has created the world and our lives, and that, in the end, He will create a new earth. In between those two moments, everyone lives once. They get a chance to get to know God once. Those who have confidence in Him will have everlasting life in the new earth. This is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives, which is lacking when you believe in Karma.
Karma is not a Christian or a biblical term, although there are several parallels to the biblical concept “reap what you sow.” As Christians, we believe in grace and not Karma in Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.
The Bible does not teach Karma. It teaches grace. Grace is where we get what we don’t deserve. Grace is undeserved favor. It is love and mercy imposed upon us by Christ because He wants us to have it. As you can see, it’s different from Karma. It’s more like opposites.
It was grace, not Karma that saved Baby Moses from death. It was grace that made Queen Esther beg for the survival of her people. Grace helped Nehemiah to restore the walls of Jerusalem. Grace appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, and He became Paul the Apostle.
Grace reached out to you and me when we were sinners who deserved death and took our place.
And it is disappointing that we’ve forgotten about it. It is disappointing that we are more inclined to look for Karma than to look for grace. In the book, Bono: Conversation with MishkaAssayas, Bono said, “I would have been in great trouble if Karma were eventually my judge. I am holding out for grace. I am holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross.”
If the world understood the magnificence of God’s grace, they would hold on to it because humanity doesn’t need more Karma, but a lot of grace.
REAPING WHAT YOU SOW: CHRISTIAN KARMA?
Many religions and philosophies support Karma’s idea: if we do something good, good things will return to us, and if we do badly, we will experience something bad. But if we truly reap what we sow, every mistake we make will keep haunting us. Jesus is providing a much better way to live – with grace. Here’s how to trade Karma for grace:
1. RECOGNIZE HOW DIFFICULT ACTION AND EFFECT ARE IN REAL LIFE.
Karma sounds pretty simple. In reality, one action rarely leads to a single effect. Instead, each action and its effect are intertwined with many others, causing a long chain of complicated, unpredictable interactions. So it’s naive to expect that you can do something good and get the result you’re hoping for or that if you do something bad, you’ll only experience the consequences you can predict. No matter how hard you can regulate the cycle of your actions and the effects, your attempts are all in vain in this complicated world where all people are linked in ways that can easily lead to unforeseeable outcomes.
2. REALIZE THAT BAD THING HAPPENS MORE EASILY THAN GOOD IN THIS FALLEN UNIVERSE.
While it’s good to try to do what’s right as much as you can, you need to understand that your sinful nature much causes you to make mistakes. Since that is true for all other people, bad things happen more frequently than good things. You are likely to accumulate more bad Karma than good Karma, despite your desire to do what is right.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR INABILITY TO FULFILL GOD’S EXPECTATIONS OF RIGHT AND WRONG.
Since God is perfect, His standard shows perfection, which is impossible for fallen human beings to attain. So stop the fruitless effort of trying to make enough good Karma achieve salvation with God. Acknowledge that you cannot free yourself from sin, no matter how hard you may try to do so.
4. RECOGNIZE HOW THE KARMA OF OTHERS AFFECTS YOUR OWN.
Karma is contagious. You get some of the consequences of other people’s decisions, even though you don’t want that to happen. Your decisions influence other people either positively or negatively, whether or not you wish to do so. What happens to other people’s lives crashes into yours, and vice versa. So you really can’t be the master of your destiny with Karma.
5. ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU OWE A DEBT YOU CANNOT PAY.
Since Karma fills you with responsibilities for all you caused, you’re saddled with a big debt that you can’t pay because all people cause more trouble than they can make up for in this fallen world.
6. TURN TO THE ONLY PERSON WHO HAS EVER LIVED WITH PERFECT KARMA.
Jesus is the only One who ever lived a perfect human life. Only Jesus has the ability to take away your bad Karma and forgive the debt you owe.
7. ACCEPT THE GRACE THAT JESUS CHRIST OFFERS YOU.
Jesus offers to forgive your debt by absorbing it in Himself through His sacrificial death on the Cross. Jesus has paid for your sins and made your redemption possible; all you have to do is accept His forgiveness. So give your life to Christ and trust Him to take your wrong choices and use them for good purposes – something He alone can do.
8. INVITE JESUS TO CHANGE HIS DESTINY.
Once you have embraced the grace of Christ, which frees you from your debt of Karma, you have an unbelievable opportunity: to love and be loved freely in a relationship with God. Step forward into that destiny with happiness and gratitude. Talk with Christ in prayer every day and ask Him to work through you to learn and grow into an individual who reflects more and more of His character. You will still make mistakes since you’re not perfect until you get to heaven, but you’re not going to worry about accumulating a huge burden of bad Karma that you can’t undo with good Karma. You will be free to live with grace, to know that you can count on God to forgive your mistakes whenever you confess and repent and to rest assured that God will continue to empower you to become a person who makes more and more good choices that have a positive impact on the world. In reality, with grace guiding the way, the positive choices you make will make even you better than you can imagine because there is no end to what God can do through you.
KARMA AND CONSEQUENCE
Although there is no such thing as ‘karma,’ we do suffer the consequences of our actions in this life. God created the universe, and us, to work in certain ways. We suffer the consequences when we reject His standard. Adam and Eve rejected the rule of God back in the Garden of Eden, and this placed all mankind outside the will of God. Now, we all suffer because we are born into a sin-filled world with a tendency to sin. The Bible tells us that all life is impaired by sin. ” For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:22). It is sin, not Karma, which explains all the unpleasant events, illness, pain, and death that we see around us every day.
BIBLE VERSES RELATED TO KARMA
Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every One may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Luke 6:27 – But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Galatians 6:8-9 – For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
God has given us a way to break this cycle of sin; Jesus Christ, who has paid for our sins through his death. When we unite with Him, by faith, our sins are forgiven, and we receive forgiveness, happiness, harmony, power, and everything that comes with a life that is in tune with the Creator of the universe. This relationship is not going to make all our problems vanish, but God will provide the power to overcome whatever we face in our lives.
The biblical answer to ‘karma’ is to turn your life to God and trust Him with everything you need. He’s bigger than anything we’re ever going to face in life. The Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”(Romans 8:1-2) Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”(Matthew 11:28-29).