A lot of you believe in Karma—that what goes around comes around—that if you do something good you’ll be rewarded, and if you do something bad you’ll be punished. I know many of us would deny such a claim, but the truth is, karma makes a lot of sense and I understand why a lot of us buy into this idea of what goes around comes around, but here’s the main problem I have with Karma: Jesus.
Didn’t Jesus heal a bunch of people, bring dead people to life, feed the hungry and restore sight to the blind? Absolutely. Then why was he murdered?
Wouldn’t you want to keep around the guy who can feed you, heal you, and make your life comfy? It would make sense to keep that guy around for when you need him; so why kill him? Did he commit a sin or break the law? No. “Then why is he dead?” Great question. Let’s talk about that today.
You may have realized by now that we live in an imperfect world. It’s been that way since Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and choose their own way. Sin, the thing that separates us from God because God is holy, is now in every corner and hidden place on the earth and there’s nothing we could do to ever clean up that mess. Sin is like squeezing out a full tube of toothpaste while jumping out of an airplane and then trying to put it all back in the tube before you reach the ground. You’d make a mess trying to get the toothpaste back in the tube and you’d especially make a mess if your parachute didn’t open.
To cover our sin, God sent Jesus. For us to be made clean, a perfect sacrifice was needed and that sacrifice needed to die to cover the sins we commit. That may not make sense to some of you, which is okay, just ask you leaders if you have any questions, but think about it this way: God is holy, which means he’s perfect in every way. If I walk into a room full of mosquitos with no Off spray, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t show me grace and leave me alone. Mosquitos are blood sucking jerks. Sin separates us from God because God is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin. I can’t be in a room full of mosquitoes like God can’t be in the presence of sin.
Jesus had to die so that we could live. The death of Jesus wasn’t a simple and quick death either. Judas, a close follower of Jesus, betrayed him for a few bucks. The next few hours after being arrested, Jesus was mocked, beaten, whipped with leather ropes that had pieces of metal and shards of bone at the end. He then was fitted with a crown made of thorns. After being sentenced to crucifixion, Jesus had to carry the weight of his cross up a mountain. There he had the choice of resting his weight on the spikes driven into his hands or pushing up on the spikes in his feet. Jesus died a painful death because we messed up.
Karma says you get what you deserve, Jesus shows he got what we deserved. Jesus says we get dessert even though we didn’t finish dinner—that’s what makes his grace so scandalous. Karma looks really good on paper because it weighs our abilities, but if our salvation was based solely on our abilities, no one would be saved. Paul said that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, so even the best of us wouldn’t be good enough to save ourselves (Romans 3:23). Jesus destroyed karma when he died on the cross and rose from the dead. Jesus got what he didn’t deserve all because he took our place.
If karma were real, Jesus would be the only person ever to live that would have a perfect record in life and he wouldn’t have been crucified, but he was crucified even though he had done no wrong. Jesus did all of this for us so that we could live. When karma says “you get what you deserve”, Jesus says “you get what I give to you because I love you.” That’s what grace does for all of us, which karma could never deliver.
Romans 3:23 // Isaiah 5213-53:12 // 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 // Romans 3:20-24