Saturday, February 2, 2013

Does Paul believe in Karma?

Galatians 6:7-10

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Ever hear of Karma? That idea that "what goes around, comes around?" I have heard people use this verse to support such ideas. I emphatically do not think that is what this verse is saying.

What you sow you will reap, that is the promise here. So if you sow to please the flesh, you will reap corruption. That is because the flesh and the ways of the flesh are corrupt. Even if what you do is a good thing, if it is done to please the flesh, it will be corrupt. That is where this differs from karma. Karma says that your deeds will come back to you, good deeds will return in good things, and bad deeds will return in bad things. I would love to see the scientific research on this, but I digress.

But if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life. Not, if we do good, good will be done to us. Rather, if we sow our seeds to please the Spirit, rather than the flesh, then eternal life is what is in store for us. Not because we have done good things, but because we get it! Because our actions are guided by the Spirit of God rather than our own pleasure.

So do good then, not because you want to plant a seed that will be returned 1 fold or 10-fold (or whatever fold someone tells you) on earth (as some prosperity folks would believe and have you to believe), but do good because you desire to please the Spirit. It might not go well! But don't grow weary, don't tire of doing good and maybe not seeing that good returned to you. Just do good because it pleases God. And do good to all, but especially to your brothers in the faith.

God judges that heart, not the deeds. Karma has no such discretion.

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