I was in a debate the other day when it was mentioned multiple times that Christianity cannot be Karma. Within the context of the conversation, Karma was being used in the more general usage that if you do something good it will come back to you, and if you do something bad it will come back to you. The statement was made with the presupposition that the world’s view of Karma could not be what is taught in the Bible.
Karma however, aside from the actual eastern religious tendencies it involves, seems to center on balance. When you do right, right will be done to you. When you do wrong, wrong will be done to you. Someone mentioned the principle that if you cast your bread upon many waters it will return unto you. And the thought was negative.
The opposing thought was that God blesses no matter what. Not common grace, rain-on-just-and-unjust-type blessing. The question was phrased in the negative (to be fair, it was a question): “If I do not live perfectly will I miss out on blessings I could have had, had I lived right?” The implied answer being argued at one point was no. We would not miss out on any blessings due to our actions in life.
The Bible says that which a man soweth he will also reap. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
“to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”
“He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity”
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” — Not just a proverb now, but a NT principle on giving to missions
“Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (2 Cor. 9:10…interesting because it has a winky face at the end of the verse.)
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
Is this Karma? Or is this Christianity? This is Christianity. We reap what we sow. There is a principle of cause and effect that God has placed in the world, but this isn’t even that. God is not mocked. It is not nature, or nature’s laws that say this. It is not a force of balance in the universe that brings these things to pass. God is not mocked. Whatever you sow, you will reap. Though the context for some of these implies eternal reaping, the principle is not just eternal. It is a principle of daily life.
James 1, though it did not settle it, certainly quieted the discussion. “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God…Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering…Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” To get this wisdom, we must ask in faith. There is a requirement/condition upon our reception of this wisdom from God. Not that God can’t or doesn’t give wisdom to whomever and however He chooses, but He said this man will not receive anything of Him. This answers the question if we will receive the same blessings regardless of how we live. Further, the Bible bears this out in other places.
We live right because we love God, but the Bible also sets forth the principles of reward for doing right. Heaven is not to be our sole goal for getting saved, nor is escape from Hell, but both are arguments from Scripture to be saved. Punishment and reward are both aspects of life and the afterlife, and these depend on what we do with the life God has given us. Certainly God can and does bless regardless of things in our lives, yet, we also see a principle of reaping what we sow. This is not Karma, but Christianity.