Bad Karma Makes the Gospel Glorious

karmaThe gospel is beautiful because God is glorious us and we are not.

When Jesus assumes his heavenly state in Matthew 17, Peter, James and John fall on their face in holy terror.

The apostles knew they were not holy. Jesus had already rebuked Peter for identifying with the teachings of Satan. Indeed the words of Psalm 14:2-3 well described the apostles and by extension all of humanity. The text declares:

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

Jesus agrees proclaiming, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Paul concludes that every soul lacks the glorious purity of God. They are “hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.” The holy terror that gripped the apostles should grip our souls as we contemplate being in the presence of God.

Despite this reality, Jude 24 declares that God will present believers blameless before the glory of God with great joy. Those who should fall down in terror because of their sin will walk boldly into the throne room with smiles beaming from their faces. How does this happen?

It’s not Karma. Despite the popular notion that humanity can overcome its bad Karma with good Karma, the Scriptures paint a much bleaker picture of human ability. Isaiah 64:6 state that

All our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.

We cannot earn our way to heaven. Why?

Men and women exist to glorify God. Even those times when we gave to charity, played ball with our kid, and volunteered at the shelter fail to add positive value to our good Karma tank if we did them to get rid of some nagging guilt or to impress our spouse. Any action that that does not make directly glorify God is worthless. Our good karma will never outweigh our bad karma, because we never do anything good.

The gospel becomes amazing at this point. Jesus came to do what we could not do. He lived the perfect life that we could not live. He did good and did it abundantly. The moment we repent and believe, Jesus will transfer his righteous life to us and takes all our bad karma onto himself. Jesus does what our karma cannot do. He makes us holy.

Jesus does what our karma cannot do. He makes us holy.

And we know he can make this trade. He has wiped out our debts on the cross and then risen again to validate his claims of deliverance. Paul beautifully sums up the gospel when he writes,

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Those who have repented of their sins and who have trusted in Jesus for salvation have ever reason to rejoice. The impossible has become possible. The terror has been replaced with joy. When we arrive at heaven, we will not experience judgement but joy.

Death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, no pain anymore.

Revelation 21:4

Though viruses may spread, though false teachers may abound, and though persecutions may come, the believer has nothing to fear because Jesus has died for her sins. God will one day present her “blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.” The early church martyr Ignatius said, “Bring on all the hideous tortures from the Devil! Just let me get to Jesus.”

Let’s get to Jesus! Are you ready?