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Friday, 8 September 2017

Karma or grace?


Do you live by karma or by grace? You need to choose, for the two are not reconcilable. Karma seeks retaliation. It seeks revenge. If I were to stretch Jesus' words out of context, I would even be able to find some sort of Biblical principle for it -
And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. Luke 6:31 NKJV
Why is this stretching Jesus' words out of context? Jesus did not say that as you do unto others, it will be done to you. He did not say, as others do to you, will it be done to them. What He said was that we get to set the standard that we ourselves live by. In a perfect system of sowing and reaping, it means that people will treat us likewise. Yet, perfection only exists in God. Mankind is fallible at best. Man is subject to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, emotional baggage, flawed reasoning, etc. Therefore, it doesn't follow that people will treat you the way you treat them. It merely means you set the standard for your own conduct. You have no control over the actions of others.
Let us examine another scripture that seemingly leans towards the principle of karma.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7 NKJV
There is no law of nature at play here. Nor is it a law of the universe. There is simply the Godly principle of receiving the rewards for your own conduct. If you live a fleshly (worldly) life, you will reap corruption. If you live a spiritual life, you will reap everlasting life (Gal. 6:8). This too is then not a matter of karma. It is the principle of John 3:16-18
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (NKJV)
You either believe in Jesus and receive eternal life as a reward (sowing and reaping), or you don't believe in Jesus and die eternally as a result of your own unbelief (sewing and reaping).
This is not karma. This is not the universe/nature returning some fortune or misfortune unto you that you have caused in someone else's life. This is you determining the outcome of your own earthly life by the choice you make to believe in Jesus, or not. It goes no wider than this. It does not include anything else. It does not affect anything else. It is ONLY about believing in Jesus. It is important to understand this.
Many believers today live under the fear or bondage of what I shall loosely term Biblical karma. We take the above scriptures out of context and apply them to all aspects of life. This may have a sound humanitarian undertone, but it is not a Biblically sound teaching. What is at the root of such thinking? In essence, it implies that we can determine the outcome of our own lives. This is the birthplace for such thinking as, that if we do enough good deeds, we will certainly be rewarded by being allowed into heaven, and others like it. No such thing! Read John 3:16-18 again if you are uncertain about this. It is only faith in Christ Jesus that will result in eternal life. You can not save yourself.
This brings me to the topic of grace. Grace is undeserved favour. It is being forgiven without having done anything to deserve it. This is in direct contrast to karma, which holds that we are rewarded according the good or bad that we do in this life already. Grace has nothing to do with the next person - it is solely between yourself and God. You can not hide behind the worse deeds of others, or your own good deeds. Grace does not have space to hide. It only has space to forgive. God can not forgive you if you are hiding behind something or someone else. You need to stand before Him, stripped of all your excuses, in your own guilt, to accept His forgiveness. This grace and forgiveness can only be found in Jesus.
Why is it important to realize that grace is only between yourself and God? Because it means that another relationship can exist between God and your enemy - and this can also be a relationship of grace. Karma begs for retaliation on our enemies. Grace allows for mercy and forgiveness.
I want to remind you of Jesus' words in Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (NKJV)
If we are going to hold grudges against others, our just and fair God will have to hold our own guilt against us. If we forgive, then we make it possible for God to exercise grace and to forgive us - as is His will to do.
Let us examine justice. Can God be called just and righteous and fair if He is willing to forgive all kinds of wrongdoing? Yes! For it would be unjust and having a double standard if His forgiveness were only for an elect set of trespasses, or an elect few. Instead, it covers all sin and every person.
You need to come into right standing with God, if you still hold something against another person. God is good and merciful and just. He will forgive you - if you are willing to do the same to others.

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