You no doubt hear a lot about it. I know people (at work etc.) who almost constantly talk about it in conversation – frequently even from people who would claim not to be religious or affiliated with any religion! Clearly they still image their Creator and his attributes of justice. They evidence what is referenced in Romans 1; that although warped by sin, the law is written on the hearts of all mankind. On one level (and in contradiction to other beliefs they simultaneously hold) they can’t help but affirm the truth that reality is at base moral and covenantal, not metaphysical.
Unfortunately the use of the word karma to describe the nature of our moral universe sometimes creeps into Christianity as well. What many people refer to as “karma” is actually the manifestation of God’s covenantal sanctions which are dependent upon conformity to his transcendent law. When we take God out of the equation and attribute these covenantal sanctions to an impersonal, amorphous force existing mystically, we rob God of the glory he alone deserves.
We as Christians should point to God as the source of blessing and justice (both temporal and eternal). In the final account, all sin will be accounted for at the final judgement. God will not be mocked.
Temporally, there are exceptions of course – sometimes evil seems to be blessed and virtue punished (especially in societies and cultures so warped that they punish the good and glorify vice). But in general (even temporally) obedience produces blessing, disobedience produces curse.
Think about the extent to which governments and societies which have been changed by the gospel and begin to esteem God’s commands are blessed as a result – both interpersonally and civilly,.
Interpersonally: Love the Lord your God. Honor your Father and Mother. Do not bear false witness. Do not steal your neighbor’s property. Do not commit adultery. Do not murder. Love your neighbor as yourself. Do not be idle. Train up your children in the Lord. Do not withhold discipline.
Civilly: Respect for boundaries of authority (family, church, state). Punishment is proportionate to the crime. Due process. Equal scales. Transcendent biblical standards.
What does this produce for society in the big picture?
Now think about what a departure from those standards would mean. We don’t have to look very far! Cultures that have no respect for personal property. Whole societies which downplay or mock family values. Civil governments that eschew biblical standards of justice. The concept of covenantal sanctions in history, and God’s continued involvement in this is something that Christians need to grasp – especially if we want to be salt and light in the world.
The moral universe we live in rings true for individuals, families, churches, nations etc. This is the God we serve and this is the reality that proceeds from his being. Christ has inherited the nations and possesses all rule and authority.
Let’s give him the credit, not karma.
Proverbs 5:22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast.
Psalm 119:20-21 My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments.
Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Psalm 106:3-4 How blessed are those who promote justice, and do what is right all the time!
Proverbs 22:8 Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail.