And that’s another point I could’ve made in Sunday’s Sermon). Just as Jesus distinguishes the Gospel from the Law, so too Grace is not Karma.
As I said, the bridegroom and his family in the passage do not deserve what Christ has done for them, yet they get the credit for what Christ has done. As though, they had done it themselves. The party planner tastes the wine that had been water, John says, and he chalks it up to the bridegroom’s extravagance.
Grace is not Karma.
Karma says you get what you have coming to you. Grace says we all have it coming to us but we’ve received Christ’s righteousness instead.
Karma says that what you put in is what you get out. Karma says that as you give so shall you receive. Karma says that what goes around is what will come back around. Karma says that what God does for you is based on what you do for God.
Karma is how most people in our culture try to speak Christian.
It’s karma not grace that says this horrible nightmare in my life must be happening to me for a reason. It’s karma not grace that says God must be doing this to me- this diagnosis, this disease- because of that sin I did. It’s karma not grace that says if I just do my part (pray, serve the poor, go to church, give to the church) then God will do his part and bless me.
Karma is not Christianity.
When all is said and done, there’s really only been 2 religions in the history of the world.
On the one hand, there’s all the religions that tell you what you must do for God and for your neighbor (or else). That’s Karma. And on the other hand, there’s the Gospel of grace, the news of what God has done for you and your neighbor despite your failures to love him or them.
You can’t speak Christian with Karma because, the sign at Cana shows it, God doesn’t give you what you deserve. God gives you infinitely more than what you deserve. God gives you the credit Christ alone deserves.
As I mentioned to my Follow-Up Sunday School group, Grace is like that season of the Bachelor where the guy gives the rose to the girl at the beginning of the show, freeing them to be themselves and enjoy one another. Likewise, Grace frees us to love and serve our neighbor. Freed from any worry over what we deserve or do not deserve, we can server our neighbor as a fellow neighbor rather than treat them as chits on our religious resume.