Karma or Grace - Justice or Mercy
Psalm 7 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The Lord Implored to Defend the Psalmist against the Wicked.
O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge; Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me, 2 Or he will tear my soul like a lion, Dragging me away, while there is none to deliver.
3 O Lord my God, if I have done this, If there is injustice in my hands, 4 If I have rewarded evil to my friend, Or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary, 5 Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it; And let him trample my life down to the ground And lay my glory in the dust. Selah.
6 Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; Lift up Yourself against the rage of my adversaries, And arouse Yourself for me; You have appointed judgment. 7 Let the assembly of the peoples encompass You, And over them return on high. 8 The Lord judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. 9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds. 10 My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.
12 If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready.
13 He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons; He makes His arrows fiery shafts. 14 Behold, he travails with wickedness, And he conceives mischief and brings forth falsehood.
15 He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the hole which he made. 16 His mischief will return upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate.
17 I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
In today’s text the psalmist says: Behold, he travails with wickedness, And he conceives mischief and brings forth falsehood. He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the hole which he made. His mischief will return upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate. I find it sadly ironic that many people today will speak of karma, the universe paying back a person for their bad or good behavior, yet they get angry with the thought that God would allow people to suffer the consequences of their behavior or actions. They rejoice that a person gets what they deserve through karma, but reject that there should be any consequences allowed by God for sin. The truth is, with God we don’t necessarily get what we deserve. As the psalmist says: God is a righteous judge. Fortunately for us the righteous judge does not give us justice, what we deserve. Instead, He gives us mercy and grace. Romans 6:23 says: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Death is the natural consequence of sin. It includes physical death, spiritual death and death to the relationship which we are intended to have with God. But God, because of His great love provided a way for us to escape the natural consequences of justice, of getting what we deserve. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Thankfully the universe is not God and karma is not our lot. Because of the love and compassion of God, because of His mercy, we receive the rewards of grace, eternal life, redemption from sin, reconciliation to God, and physical and spiritual restoration through Christ.
Many still protest that even with grace and mercy, it is unfair that it would come only through Christ. Again, they accept that karma can come in any form, but they believe God should play by man’s rules. They say it is narrow minded to believe that there is no other way to God than through Christ. It is true, it may be narrow minded. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” He says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Think of it this way: If a house with many doors was on fire, because of negligence or wrong doing by the occupant and every door was blocked, leading to death, but one, the one that was straight ahead. Would that be unfair or would it be a blessing? If every way out were blocked, it would be karma. To have even one way of escape is grace. The choice still exists and the one inside must choose. It doesn’t seem though that the choice would be too difficult.
The psalmist says: I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. We too can choose to praise or to protest. God created us with a free will. We can choose to take our chances with karma, hoping that both in what we do and what we get, the good outweighs the bad. Or we can walk through the open door of grace through Christ. In Revelation 3:20 He says: “Behold,I stand at the door and knock.If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” You can choose to cast your lot with karma. For me: "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2) I will both walk through the door His grace has provided and praise and thank Him for it.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for Your grace and mercy, that because of Your love and compassion I can have life, not death. I will gladly open the door You have provided through the cross and like the psalmist: I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. Amen.