I have friends who believe that people will suffer bad karma from past lives and it will be carried over to this life. Now, I read in the Bible that if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and ask him for forgiveness with a sincere heart, He will wipe away your imperfections and you won’t have to suffer “bad karma” anymore. Is this correct? If not, then what’s the point of asking for forgiveness? Isn’t this what Christ died on the cross for? I need the truth because it will set me free.
What Eastern religions call karma is the Bible’s principle that “a man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). God created a cause-and-effect universe where our choices have consequences.
In the Eastern systems, each person has to work off his own bad karma. . . over and over and over, through as many lifetimes as it takes. In contrast, the Bible offers the marvelous gift of forgiveness and grace (God’s blessing that we don’t deserve) through Jesus Christ. You are right that Jesus takes away the guilt of our sins and the eternal punishment of being separated from God forever. However, although forgiveness takes away the obstacle of sin that separates us from friendship with God, it does not take away the consequences of our choices. In the same way that a parent disciplines his child because he loves him, God allows us to suffer the consequences of our choices so that it builds character and helps us to grow and mature and become wise.
Christ died on the cross to reconcile us to God, but He does not take away the effects of our choices. For example, let’s say I steal something from a store. Stealing is a sin, and I then confess it to God, who forgives me because Jesus paid for that sin on the Cross, but He will still let me experience the shame and humiliation of being arrested and having to go to trial and then jail. My relationship with God has been restored, but I still have to experience the consequences of my actions. In the process, He will develop my character and help me to grow from this painful experience, making me more mature and less selfish, preparing me for this life and my life in heaven. But once I die, it’s all behind me, forgiven and never to be suffered again.
Does this make sense?
© 2007 Probe Ministries