Is Karma a real thing and what should we as Christians think about it? Is there any truth in Karma or is there a Biblical Karma? Karma is an idea from Indian pantheist religion where the full measure of someone’s life influences their new state when reincarnated. In western terms when one hears Karma it is usually associated with the idea that if you do bad things then Karma dictates that something bad is coming your way.
Karma is Works Based Theology
Many people if not most people operate under the idea that we must be more “good” than “bad” in our lives and that will be good enough for whatever comes after we die. For Christians this idea is called a “works based” approach. Meaning if I follow the laws, rules, and religion then hopefully God will let me into heaven. The same principle holds with Karma. Do good things and then you will be fated to have good things. It is all works and dependent on you to work at being good.
Christians Operate on Faith Based Theology
The Biblical view of working to get into heaven is not supported. In fact God tells us that it is impossible to be good enough in God’s eyes to work your way into heaven. But don’t freak out because God knowing we are weak made a way not on works but based on faith.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
Faith is the foundation from which Christians operate. Karma is a works based foundation that will not make you right before God and no amount of good works will impress God.
Consequences of Sin Look Like Karma
In the Book of Judges, we find the Israelites waging war against the evil people of the land God has promised them. God is using Israel to judge the peoples around them. King of one of these evil peoples is captured and the Israelites use his own humiliations against him.
6 Adoni-bezek fled, but they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes. 7 And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to pick up scraps under my table. As I have done, so God has repaid me.” And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. Judges 1:6-7 ESV
Aboni-bezek humbled and his kingdom taken away does not appear to blame the army that defeated him. He blames God. He states “God has repaid me” for all the bad things he has done. This idea of Karma catching up with him is real. Now for the sake of Aboni-bezek I pray that he no only recognized God’s hand at work but also repented of his past evil and put his trust in the Lord God going forward.
Sin Leads to Death
There are two ways that one might see a Biblical Karma or better stated the laws of God and Nature work negatively in our lives.
Sin Drags us Down
If you rob a bank chances, are you will be arrested and go to jail. Now we can say that is Karma. But really it is about sin and consequences in this life. More than just going to jail it will break trust with your relationships. It will cause issues with your family. The laws of nature are that our desires and our lusts of the flesh will cause our downfall in this life. Almost every movie coming out of Hollywood tells the story of bad behavior leading to bad consequences.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15 ESV
One the flip side of this God has made promises that we may or may not see in this life. Meaning if we do good things and we expect Karma to pay us back in good will be disappointed. But to those who trust Jesus and have faith in him we will see those promises fulfilled in the next life. Trust and faith not works.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. Hebrews 11:13 ESV
Judgment has its own Risks
There is one Biblical Karma idea that I can think of that is somewhat unique and that is how we judge others around us. If you look down on or in distain at other people because they can’t measure up to your perceived perfection then look out! God will hold you to that same standard.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2 ESV
Any judgment I make is based on God’s standards and not mine. I pay that just as God has forgiven me for my sins that I would be able to forgive others for their sins against me.
Faith and Trust and trust is the Way Forward
There is no such thing as Biblical Karma but there is a very real law of sin that burdens our heart. You dear reader have an opportunity, each day is new, to break free of these sins by trusting in Christ and being born again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Thanks for reading from Judges. I pray this was helpful to your small group or Bible study. Continue on with Judges 2: The Parents Failed