The Undeserved Death of Karma

karma

Karmathe force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person. – Merriam Webster Dictionary

A few days ago I had a near-death experience. Staring at a green light, I delicately pressed down on the accelerator as I eased up on the clutch. It had only been one week since I learned how to drive a stick shift, and with determination on my face, I slowly inched forward without stalling or revving the engine.

Success.

However, as I began to roll out into the intersection, a car sped through the red light just in front of me. My heart seemed to stop, and I gave a shocked look to my friend in the passenger seat. With the comfort of an automatic transmission, I would have gone much quicker into the intersection and been hit. Both of us would have almost certainly died.

After the seriousness of the situation passed, my friend and I soon began to joke about what would happen to the rogue driver. Each of us expressed the half-hearted hope that something “almost” terrible would happen to him/her as well. As our ideas continued to get more and more ridiculous, the serious question of karma soon arose.

Do people really get what they deserve?

Christianity works a little bit like karma, right?

1.) No.

2.) No.

And thank goodness those are the answers.    

What We Deserve

Believe it or not, there is one thing that I really like about karma: justice. I believe that the idea of karma originates from an intrinsic longing that all people are born with. We all hope that there will be punishment for evil and reward for good. As Christians, we worship a God who promises to punish the wicked for their deeds. There will most certainly be justice for the wrongdoers.

The difference, however, is that we are all wrongdoers. The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 8:23). This is plain and simple to see. In fact, almost anyone would admit that no perfect people exist. As a result, we all deserve eternal death. Now, I understand that this is a difficult and tricky concept. Some people are certainly better than others, so why do all deserve Hell? It is because we have sinned against an all-powerful, perfect, and eternal God. Perfection is the standard, and we have crossed over the line. Regardless of how far we have gone, anyone on this side of the line is labeled a “sinner.” We are punished not only for the type of transgression, but more importantly, for whom the transgression is against. We see this in our world today. For example, if I were to illegally shoot an animal, my punishment would be far less than if I were to shoot a person. The same is true for God, but on an infinite scale. We sinned against Him. If we were all allowed to get what we truly deserve, then we would be in Hell right now. That’s a scary thought.

What We Get

I am so thankful that God does not give us karma. Instead what we get is a word called “grace.” Grace is the antithesis of karma. The two stand diametrically opposed. They stare at each other in opposite corners of the ring, and when the bell sounds, grace wins.

Grace wins every time.

Grace is the death of karma.

We stood before God empty handed. We had nothing to give him – no good works to earn our salvation. Nothing that could give us perfection. Nothing that could give us Him. And anything less than Him is indeed Hell. That’s what we had earned. That’s what karma had given us.

But in an unthinkable act of love, God himself stooped down and placed in our hand a cup of salvation, taking for himself the one we deserved – the divine cup of wrath.

Feeling the weight of our sin, Jesus cried out, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”(Matthew 26:42) And as he hung on the cross just before he died, Jesus said “It is finished.” (John 19:30). The wrath that we deserved was fully laid upon Him.

So now we stand with a cup of salvation and undeserved grace. What a gift we have been given – a gift we can share with others.

Through faith in Christ, we received what we had not earned.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Talk about near-death experiences…

“What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.” – Psalm 116:12-13

Grace and Karma stand in opposite corners of the ring, and when the bell sounds…Grace wins. Grace wins every time.

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Russ Allen

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2 thoughts on “The Undeserved Death of Karma

  1. Grace does not cancel karma. Our actions always have consequences whether or not we believe in Christ.

    MATTHEW 26:52 – “All who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

    REVELATION 13:10 – “He who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.”

    GALATIANS 6:7 – “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A person reaps what he sows.”

    EXODUS 21:24-25 – “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

    MATTHEW 16:27 – “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”

    REVELATION 20:12-13 – “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.”

    REVELATION 22:12 – “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”

    ROMANS 2:13 – “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”

    LUKE 10:25-28 – On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
    “What is written in the Law?” he (Jesus) replied. “How do you read it?”
    He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

    JAMES 2:14-18;26 – “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds… As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

    MATTHEW 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the Earth.”

    ACTS 10:34-35 – Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”

    MATTHEW 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

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    1. I very much appreciate this. Thank you for your comment. I certainly do not disagree with you that as a general rule, there are consequences for our actions. As I state in the post, I also affirm that there will be ultimate justice one day (punishments and rewards). My use of “karma,” however, comes from the popular usage. It normally refers to the idea that if people do something bad, something proportionately bad will happen to them (and vice versa). This is certainly not true, even in practicality. In fact, the entire book of Ecclesiastes is filled with references to this concept. “There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 8:14. As Ecclesiastes insinuates, even the most evil people here on earth benefit from “common grace.”

      My point in this post is that if we TRULY received what we all deserved, we would end up infinitely short of salvation. The concept of karma would send us to Hell. In this way, grace IS profoundly opposed to karma. Karma gives us what we deserve – Grace gives us what we do not.

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