Does karma have any place in a Christian’s life? Or, is it an infection?
Karma is the idea that how you live this life will determine the quality of life you will have after reincarnation (from the Buddhist and Hindu religions). After death, your soul is reborn into a new body (human or animal) based upon what kind of life you lived. Karma teaches you get what you deserve.
The concept of reincarnation is opposite of what the Bible teaches. Hebrews 9:27.
The western understanding of karma is the idea of cause and effect where whatever you do is returned to you. So, Westerners hold onto this when it comes to wanting revenge on someone who has wronged us. When embraced by Christians, even casually, karma is an infection in our thinking about our life in Christ.
What does the Bible teach about getting what you deserve?
The general principle regarding your moral and spiritual life is that when you choose to live apart from Christ, your life will get messed up.
There is not a one-to-one correlation between doing something good or bad and getting the exact good or bad reward for it.
Thankfully, God chooses to give us His mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Instead of judgment and punishment, God offers us His grace instead.
The Bible teaches grace, not karma.
“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Grace is undeserved favor. It is a gift from God that you don't deserve. You can never deserve it. God extends His mercy to you because of His great love for you. That’s the grace. The gift. He desires you to have it. As you can see, it is very different from karma. More like polar opposites.
We deserve judgment — every one of us — but we get the very life of God instead by just our faith in Christ. And, zillions of wonderful blessings come to us by that one act alone! We just might have to wait to receive some of them until later.
Karma dethrones Christ and our life in Him
Looking at Colossians chapter 3, we see many reasons why karma is an infection.
Verse 1 says that you’ve been raised with Christ. In God’s eyes, you are seated with Christ at God’s right hand.
Verse 2 says that you’ve already died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Nothing is better than that. It is a guarantee.
Verse 4 reminds you that Christ is your life. Not luck. Not karma. Not what others do to you. Not even your own behavior can change that.
Verse 10 says that you have a new self that is being renewed to look just like Jesus. God’s doing that in you. Not karma.
There is one and only one act in this life that guarantees anyone’s destiny after death. Either placing your faith in Jesus Christ or rejecting Him. It’s all about Christ. John 3:16-18; John 5:24.
Grace leads to justice, not the revenge of karma
Revenge has no place in the gospel or in a Christian’s life. God will take care of justly punishing those who have rejected Him. Romans 12:17-20.
Jesus calls us as individual believers to respond differently. Instead of meeting evil with equal or greater force, he urges us to meet evil with good, with kindness. Romans 12:21.
Recognize that a belief in karma can certainly cause fear in someone's life or lead to a hard heart towards others. So, when you know someone is caught up in the belief in karma, you need to have a graceful response ready to point her to the truth. You can simply say, “I am so glad that God doesn’t give me what I deserve. I deserve severe judgment for my sin and nothing good at all in light of His goodness. I am so grateful for His grace to me that expresses His kindness to me because of His love for me. It’s a much better way to live than to live in fear that I am not good enough or to live in bitterness against those who have mistreated me.” That is recognizing Jesus Christ as Lord.
Grace = YES! Karma = NO!
Does karma have anything to do with a Christian’s life? Absolutely not! Grace and karma are like oil and water. They don’t mix. By spreading the karma infection, you actually draw people away from Jesus and His amazing grace and toward something that poorly substitutes for Him.
A spiritual infection takes you captive to something other than Christ. The Karma infection is bad. Knowing the truth of God’s grace that you have in Jesus Christ gives you an immune system that deletes this spiritual infection.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart needs with His truth and His love so you can get well and stay well.