1/9/15: Karma – Not a Christian Concept


When teaching my comparative religion course, I discuss the difference between Christian concepts and those of the religions we’re studying. Karma is the Buddhist and Hindu concept of “the force generated by a person’s actions… to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence.” Another definition says that karma “means ‘action’ or ‘doing’; whatever one does, says, or thinks is a karma.” The idea is that you go through life doing good or bad things and these actions weigh against each other. If at the end of your life the good outweighs the bad, you are said to have built up good karma and you advance to a higher state as you are reincarnated in the next life. If, however, your bad actions outweigh your good actions, you are said to have built up bad karma and you digress in the next life.

Karma is a nice thought and many people buy into it because we like fairness. Good should be rewarded and bad should be punished. However, Christians have no business running around speaking about having good or bad karma because by definition, the concept is not from God. Yes, our good is rewarded and our bad is punished, but in God’s economy, that is not based upon a balancing scale of one’s personal build-up of good or bad works; it’s based upon the concept of sin and redemption.

The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, and “For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s (Jesus Christ’s) obedience many will be made righteous” Romans 3:23 and 5:19 (NKJ). It’s not on us to walk a balance beam through life, doing our best to make sure our bad doesn’t outweigh our good, so that at the end we’ll be all right. Isaiah 64:6 puts the truth about ourselves right in our faces, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (NIV).

No, for the Christian, it’s not about karma, but this life is about consequences. To be sure, there are consequences to bad behavior, and there are usually positive outcomes related to our good deeds; however, neither has a bearing on our eternal destiny. We are not going to heaven or hell because our good outweighs our bad. Our ultimate eternal residence is based solely on whether or not Christ has taken up residence in our lives. If Christ is on the inside, we’re in as far as heaven is concerned. If Christ is on the outside, we’re out. (Read Romans 10:9-10.)

So how should we then live? Before answering that question, reflect upon the fact that without Jesus’ substitutionary suffering and death, we’d have no possible way of escape from the wrath of God that He as a holy God must pour out on sinful creatures. Our overflowing love for Jesus and thankfulness for the rescue His sacrifice on the cross has afforded us is enough to move us toward obedience of God’s word. “When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you… so you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness. Proverbs 2:10-11, 20 (NKJ).

Bottom line: jump off the balancing beam. Rest in the truth that we are free from worrying about karma. We have been crucified with Christ, so we live in the freedom of the faith of the Son of God who loved and gave Himself for us (paraphrased from Galatians 2:20).


©2015 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

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~ by sanewriter on January 9, 2015.

One Response to “1/9/15: Karma – Not a Christian Concept”

  1. Tricks are for kids.

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