Karma in the Bible
The law of karma is set forth throughout the Bible.
Karma and reincarnation
The apostle Paul makes clear what Jesus taught him and what he learned from life:
Every man shall bear his own burden....
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men.
Since it is often not possible to reap all of our harvests in one lifetime, the law of karma is fulfilled through the corollary law of reincarnation. Reincarnation is God’s mercy that allows us to reap the harvest of our past sowings here on earth instead of consigning us prematurely to “heaven” or “hell,” when we are ready for neither and we still have things to do on earth.
Reincarnation gives us the opportunity to learn the lessons that our returning karma, good and bad, teaches us with its exacting discipline. Then free will allows us to choose to capitalize on our harvest of talents and good works and to pay the debt for, or “balance,” our misuses of God’s light, energy and consciousness.
Karma can bring boon and blessing to those who have sown well according to the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But to those who have sown the bad seed of selfishness and self-love (as we all have in one lifetime or another) karma is a taskmaster—exacting every jot and tittle of the law till all be fulfilled.
Yet, even when karma as the great initiator comes knocking at our door, we may still choose not to make things right and go on violating the rights of others as we freely use and abuse God’s energy.
But we cannot get away with it forever. The cosmic law of compensation will not allow it. For God, inasmuch as he embodies his law of karma, will not be forever mocked: Either we cast ourselves upon the Rock of Christ and allow our negative momentums to be broken, else, as it is written, the Rock of Christ as the avenger of our karma will grind us to powder.
Karma and grace
Some Christians deny the law of karma based on certain passages in the Epistles that emphasize salvation by faith and grace. They say that good works, though an important part of Christian life, are no guarantee of salvation. And they say that because Christ died for our sins, we are not required to pay the price for them.
We are saved through the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But the real meaning of “saved” is that Jesus’ grace allows us the time and space through reincarnation to atone for our misdeeds and mistakes. We are “bought with a price,” as Paul said. And Christ, as the great burden-bearer of our karma, has paid the ransom. But inherent in Christ’s grace is our obligation to enter the path of atonement unto the resurrection and eternal life.
When we come of age spiritually and are ready as joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to receive our inheritance of the Light he bore, then the Father-Mother God requires us, as Paul said, to bear our own burden of karma and transmute it through service to life and by the alchemical fires of Love—specifically the “violet flame,” which we invoke from the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ teaching on the law of cause and effect
The law of cause and effect and of free will is affirmed by Jesus over and over again in his parables to his own and in his warnings to the seed of the wicked. Our Lord speaks often of the day of judgment, which is the day of reckoning of every man’s karmic accounts as recorded in his own book of life. In Matthew 12:35–37 he lectures to the scribes and Pharisees on the law of cause and effect:
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things [i.e., positive karma]: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things [i.e., negative karma].
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Jesus says that a man will be justified for his righteous and truthful words and condemned for his unrighteous and untruthful words. The Lord’s grace will save him only if he is obedient to the law of Love—“that ye love one another as I have loved you.”
This law of Love is embodied in the first and great commandment that Jesus taught us:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
And it is embodied in the second that is like unto it:
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Jesus said that “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Truly, love is the fulfilling of the law of karma; and our obedience to Love’s calling is our greatest assurance that we will not continue to make negative karma, whose harvest we will surely reap.
In Matthew 25 Jesus illustrates that the final judgment is based on the karma of an active (positive) or an inactive (negative) Christianity. Here works of love (i.e., charity) are the key to salvation. The Lord promises to those who minister unto him even in the person of “one of the least of these my brethren” that they shall inherit the kingdom, whereas to those who do not minister unto him for the very love of Christ in all people, he says:
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not....
Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
The apostle Paul, in his exhortations to the stubborn Romans, confirms Jesus’ teaching on the wages of karma:
[God] will repay each one as his works deserve. For those who sought renown and honor and immortality by always doing good there will be eternal life; for the unsubmissive who refused to take truth for their guide and took depravity instead, there will be anger and fury. Pain and suffering will come to every human being who employs himself in evil...; renown, honor and peace will come to everyone who does good.... God has no favorites. (Jerusalem Bible)
The Sermon on the Mount
Truly, the Great Lawgiver, who teaches us through our experiments with free will, conscience and the law of cause and effect, is no respecter of persons, and that is why his law of karma is irrevocable.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus states the mathematical precision of the law of karma: “With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” In fact, the entire sermon (read Matthew 5–7) is Jesus’ doctrine on the rewards of righteous and unrighteous conduct. It is his teaching on the consequences of thoughts, feelings, words and deeds. It is the greatest lesson on karma, as the law of personal accountability for one’s acts, you will find anywhere.
Paul teaches Christ’s doctrine of the rewards for labor when he writes to the church at Corinth:
Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour....
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Now, the author of Hebrews says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God;” and Paul writes to the saints at Ephesus, “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Here it is evident that good works alone do not satisfy the whole law of salvation. Yet without them we have no proof of our discipleship in Christ, called as we are by our Lord to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.”
Karma in the Book of Revelation
The apostle John wrote in Revelation 20:12, “The dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” The books referred to here are each man’s own book of life in which are inscribed the recordings of his works—his positive and negative karma. Revelation 20:13 repeats the statement that the dead were judged “every man according to their works,” i.e., their karma.
Nowhere in Revelation do we read that these violators of Christ’s love are saved by a last-minute, death-bed confession of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Rather, as James reminds us, “faith without works is dead.”
Moreover, Revelation does not say that the dead are judged or vindicated by faith alone, or by grace alone, or, for that matter, by works alone; for all three are indispensable to eternal life.
Revelation 21:7, 8 and 22:12–14 establish with a ring of finality Jesus’ teaching on karma. Dictating through John the Revelator, Jesus defines two paths—the path of the overcomers and their reward, and the path of the violators of God’s laws and their end in the “second death,” which is the merciful cancelling out of the soul potential that has denied the incarnation of God within her temple:
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death....
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
For anyone to deny that the law of karma is in the New Testament, he would have to deny the full weight of all the verses cited. He would also have to deny the law and the prophets of the Old Testament, because Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, said he came not to destroy but to fulfill the law and the prophets. The evidence is conclusive that the law of karma is inescapable in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Astrology of the Four Horsemen, pp. 6–18.
- Gal. 6:5, 7–10.
- Matt. 5:18.
- Matt. 21:42, 44; Luke 20:17, 18.
- I Cor. 6:20; 7:23.
- Rom. 8:14–17; Gal. 3:26 29; 4:4–7.
- John 13:34; 15:12.
- Matt. 22:37, 39, 40.
- Matt. 25:40.
- See Lake of fire.
- Matt. 25: 41–43, 45, 46.
- Rom. 2:6–11.
- Deut. 10:17; II Sam. 14:14; Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; 1 Pet. 1:17.
- Matt. 7:2.
- 1 Cor. 3:8, 13–15.
- Heb. 11:6.
- Eph. 2:8, 9.
- James 1:22.
- James 2:20, 26.
- Heb. 12:2.
- Matt. 5:17.