Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Karma or Consequences?

Bad things happen to people. It is a fact. Terrible things have happened to good people. Why? There are some who believe that it is ‘karma’. Even if one does not think he or she believes in ‘karma’ the concept may lie hidden in their thinking and express itself in statements such as “He got what he deserved”, “What comes around, goes around”, and “Looks like fate caught up with him”.

The definition of ‘karma’ is “the force created by a person’s actions that is believed in Hinduism and Buddhism to determine what that person’s next life will be like” or “the force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person”. In other words, some people believe that we live multiple lives, one after the other, and what we did a previous life affects the life we are living today. There is no such thing as Karma in the Bible. The Bible says that we live one time on this earth and then we move into eternity (Hebrews 9:27), either in Heaven or in Hell, depending on our relationship with God.

Karma is a system of gaining salvation by what one does. True salvation comes from a relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ. No one can work their way to Heaven, forgiveness, salvation, etc. The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB). Karma says that you can do good in one life and reap the benefits in a later life. The Bible says that is untrue.

So, even though there is no such thing as Karma, we do suffer the consequences of our actions in this life. God created the universe, and us, to function in certain ways. He gave us laws to live by. When we reject His standards, we suffer the consequences. Adam and Eve rejected God’s rule way back in the Garden of Eden and this put all humanity outside the will of God. Now, we all suffer because we are born into a sin filled world with a tendency to sin. The Bible makes it clear that we cannot be good enough to deserve salvation, forgiveness, Heaven, eternal life, or whatever one may call it. We cannot point to someone else and say, “Well, look how bad he is, I’m much better than that”, because the Bible tells us, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10 NASB). One sin is enough to separate us from a right relationship with God.

God wants us to turn our lives over to God and trust Him for all we need. He is bigger than anything we will ever face in life. We won’t have to ‘take the pain’ of living in a fallen world; rather, we can lay our pain on Him. The Bible says that there is, “…no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 ESV). He forgives our sins. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV). A life lived within a relationship with Jesus, is a life lived fully, peacefully, and in harmony with God’s plan for our lives.

The worst consequence of sin is that we are separated from God because of it and we have to account for the sin we commit. Nevertheless, God provided a way to be made right with Him; Jesus Christ paid for your sins and mine when He died on a cross some 2000 years ago. When we unite ourselves with Him, through faith, ours sins are forgiven and we receive joy, peace, strength, and everything that comes with a life that is in tune with the Creator of the universe. This relationship will not make all our problems disappear, but God will supply the strength to endure whatever we face in our lives.

The only way to be free, truly free, is to live a life dedicated to Jesus Christ. Then, we can say with the apostle Paul, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 ESV).