Be careful what you put out in the universe because you don’t want the universe to punch you in the face! In other words if you do good things, good things will happen to you. If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. Coming out of Buddhism and Hinduism, karma is the principle of retributive justice determining a person’s state of life and the state of his reincarnations as the effect of his past deeds. Well-meaning, good-intentioned people attribute a lot of what happens to karma. Maybe they just believe they had it coming. Funny how when something bad happens we attribute it to karma. When something good happens we attribute it to luck or hard work.
Believe in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God who took your deserved punishment in order to satisfy God’s law and set you free from sin’s consequences is grace. In other words, we deserve separation from God because of our actions. We deserve Hell, now and for eternity. However, God offers an opportunity of a lifetime. If we choose to turn over our lives to God, He will erase the history of our lives as far as He is concerned. You do not get what you deserve. You get what God provides: grace.
Karma and the Bible
Some would argue that Moses preached a brand of karma in Deuteronomy. Read an excerpt from Deuteronomy 30:
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
If read flatly and without any surrounding chapters, this might sound like karma. If you do the right things then you will be blessed. If you do the wrong things you will be cursed. Sounds like karma, right? One could read some of the words of Jesus and make an argument. When he said that he was not here to abolish the Old Testament but to fulfill it, one could make a case.
You would be mistaken.
What’s Behind Door #3?
There is no one standing behind Karma. Karma is about your actions and consequences without regard to any relationship. Karma sounds nice because it seems logical. It is neat and tidy. Do good come back in a higher life form. Do evil and come back in a lower life form. All of this is based on the understanding of attaining the state of Nirvana. In essence, it is a fatalistic teaching. Once reached, there is nothing else.
Standing behind Grace is God. God wants a relationship with you. Please do not read Deuteronomy without having read Genesis and Exodus. Humanity broke, because of sin, the perfect relationship with God. He could have quit, but did not. He could have annihilated them all but did not. He ushered them out of Eden so they could have a shot at getting back into a relationship with God. This is grace. God could have chosen to eliminate everything during the flood. Yet he salvaged 8 people in order to provide the opportunity of a relationship. This is grace. God established a covenant in Exodus that was based on a relationship with Himself and the people of Israel in order to reach the world. This is grace. When Moses tells the people about life and death, blessing and cursing, he is not speaking about actions and the universe. He is speaking from the position of relations with God.
Give Me Grace
Karma deals with the actions of humanity and gives no real hope of relating to the Creator. Grace deals with the acquittal of humanity in order to relate with the Creator. Consequences are all that Karma dictates. Under grace, consequences are the reminder of why we stay in the loving relationship we have with God. The next time you find yourself in a pinch seek to understand how God might be trying to get your attention.