Disclaimer: I realize that this post may tweak some people and my intent is not to say that ALL members or member organizations within the Exodus organization are this way. My group is, thankfully, not as I’m describing. But a large segment of the charismatic-theology groups within Exodus ARE this way. And I see it as very, very dangerous.
By some accounts in the Exodus framework, we are only acceptable before God if we are in right relationship with Him, which often means “if we are living rightly before Him.” This is, of course, a false presupposition. Our relationship with God is not because of anything inside of us. We are not right before God because we reject sin. We reject sin because we are right before God. Getting the order correct is vital…otherwise, you end up in a system where you are working your way to God.
The Gospel happens entirely outside of us. This is good news because if we had anything to do with it, we’d screw it up, just like we did with the law.
Galatians 2:16 says that “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so WE ALSO (that is, the Jews to which Paul is talking, verse 15) have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”
Faith is not something everyone has. Faith…biblical faith…is something which is a gift of God, apart from works, so that no one has any reason to say before God, “I did this!” (See Ephesians 2:8-9.) So this faith which Paul references in Galatians 2:16 is an outward expression of the gift given to him by God. We express faith because it is given to us by the Spirit…and is not given to all, because not all believe.
So what does this all have to do with some who seek orientation change? Their fundamental assertion is that we are right with God because we live rightly before Him AFTER being justified by Christ. This is wrong. The Gospel + anything DOES NOT = Gospel. Paul talks about this just a few verses down, in Galatians 3:
“Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
The answer is of course, no. Rather, “the righteous shall live by faith.”
“So,” you may ask, “does this mean that God won’t change me?”
Doesn’t mean that at all. It means that regardless of whether or not you ever find yourself drawn to women, exclusively or otherwise, if you’re in Christ, you are His and He is yours. Your standing with God is not dependant on your obedience…your standing with God is dependent on CHRIST’S obedience, which He did perfectly. This enables you to obey without fear of infringement of the law; it disables the power of law and sin and allows you to do the good works God has for you to do.
And one of those good works is love. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength…and your neighbor as yourself. This sums up the law.” So the law says, “Love me & others.” But not just sometimes…always….with your whole being. How on earth does THAT work? We can’t.
Enter, Christ. Christ loved God perfectly…becoming obedient to the point of death and that on a cross, no less. How do we know anyone loves God? By keeping his commandments…call that obedience. We can’t obey…therefore, we can’t love in the way that the Law demands.
BUT…in Christ, we can and do because HE did and WE’RE in Him. This is why the Gospel is not love…love is the law. Christ fulfilled the law of love for us by being obedient to the Father…and living and dying that way. The gospel is grace…grace that covers our sins AND gives us a comforter to help us live out good works which DO please the Father because we’re in Christ…not because we’re simply image-bearers, but because we’re bought by His Son’s blood.