1/9/16: 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. The consequences of our obedience or disobedience to God, brings about the blessings or cursing we experience. We ought to be most concerned with living this life in light of the fact that there is a next life to come.

So how should we then live? “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). And “enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJ).

Bottom line: Our entrance to heaven is by faith in Christ alone. That faith motivates us to live here on earth in a righteous way. We cannot do enough “good” to get into heaven. We don’t get to heaven based upon what we do; it’s not a matter or karma, our good outweighing our bad. We get into heaven because of Who we know; that is Jesus Christ. Our righteous actions are then a reflection of the wonderful relationship we have with Him.


©2016 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, 2016.

One Response to “1/9/16: Karma: Not a Christian Concept”

  1. I have used the phrase “it’s karma” when someone gets punished for their actions. As a believer I know this isn’t how life works. I will be careful not to use this expression in the future. I want to point people to the Truth, Jesus.

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