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Jesus and karma

I heard Mark Driscoll preach once on the difference between religion and the gospel:
Religions says that if you obey, God will love you.
The gospel says that because God loves you, you can now obey.

There are few better succinct summations of the gospel that that. We don’t earn our right to be loved from an ego-maniac God who gets his kicks playing hard to get. Scripture is clear on that. Yet for a long time, I still followed a sort of Christian Karma doctrine. It went like this: if something good happened, it was because I had been a good Christian – I prayed that right prayer or something like that. If I had a crap day and everything went wrong = well, it must have been because of that sin, or not praying, or being a bad Christian. Suddenly, its all about me again.

Karma and eastern mysticism have no place in living a life following Jesus. Our actions still pull consequences, though. The consequence from giving into a sin isn’t God waiting behind a corner like Batman to punch me in the face because I was stupid. But it can certainly effect my intimacy with God when I’m honoring desires that He hates.

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Categories: ministry, personal
  1. stac14
    November 30, 2007 at 11:26 am

    OK, but remember that Jesus was/is a mystic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysticism), and his is by definition an Eastern religion.

    I know that this opens a whole can of worms, and I remember that Jesus said that no man comes to the father through any other means but him (Jesus).

    Karma-nope. That’s about what kind of reincarnated life you get, based on the life you lead while you were here on the last go-round.

    The Bible does teach that you reap what you sow, though.

    Eastern mystic? By definition, I think so. I don’t swallow the whole lot of eastern mystic thought, but I think the case can be made for Jesus as an Easter Mystic.

    I’m just saying…

  2. November 30, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Regardless of how pale we make him in our movies, I’ll give you that Jesus was Eastern. Judaism is an Eastern religion, but even that article makes points of difference between mainstream Judaism and mystic supplants of Judaism, such as Kabbalah. I think that’s where our working definitions of mysticism are conflicting. I’m coming from the thought of, as wikipedia puts it, the more exoteric practices of mainstream religions, again like Kabbalah or Gnosticism.

    I’ll add a line to the end – point being that yes, there are effects to our actions, but God’s love for me and my standing in him is not performance based. The only thing that effects that is belief in Jesus.

    And an Easter Mystic? That sounds like a bad Halloween…I mean Harvest Festival, costume

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