Does the Bible say anything about karma?
Karma is the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jainist belief that either through a deity or the laws of nature, good acts bring blessings and harmful acts bring curses. It's a comforting, just thought that our choices control our destiny. Whether in this life or the ones previous, our actions have direct repercussions. No good fortune is capricious, and no tragedy is undeserved. The exact nature of karma differs depending on religion, but inherent in every idea of karma is the process of reincarnation wherein acts from a previous life can determine the situation of the next.
Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:
The Bible does not talk about karma in the eastern mysticism sense. There is no reincarnation in the Bible (Hebrews 9:27). But there is a sense in which our actions toward others affect our own lives. Those who seek trouble, usually find it (Job 4:8). They who live violently will be more likely to come to a violent end (Matthew 26:52). Luke 6:37-38 says:
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
But there is a serious difference between the cause and effect of actions in Christianity versus karma. The Bible teaches that all deserve death (Romans 6:23). Every single sin we commit warrants death, and no amount of good works can make up for it. It is not our actions that lead to salvation, it is Jesus'. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." No one can be so good as to deserve eternal life in God's presence, so He sent His Son to take our sin and give us righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). With God's grace, the world receives far more than we deserve—even the birds (Luke 12:24).
It is only through Jesus' sacrifice that our good deeds will produce any real good (Philippians 2:13). Galatians 6:8-9 (NIV) explains that "whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." First Corinthians 9:24-25 says that in this life, we can run the race so as to win an imperishable crown in the next. We cannot do this through our own effort. Karma says that our good can outweigh our bad. The Bible says our good works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), but Jesus' works make us a new creation, reconciled to God, unstained by our own sin (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).
What do Buddhists believe? What is Buddhism?
What do Hindus believe? What is Hinduism?
Is there a difference between religion and spirituality?
What is the Christian doctrine of regeneration?
What is the Truth about salvation?
Truth about Religion