As I discussed last week, the idea of Corporate Election is that God chooses a group of people, as opposed to God directly choosing persons individually. However, an individual person who is part of God's chosen people can still be considered chosen. I'll get to that in a bit. First, I want to talk about how God forms His people.
Let's start at the beginning. God's people first formed around the person of Abraham. God said to him, "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing." (Genesis 12:2 ESV) It is important to note that God chose the group before there was a group. Indeed, the group isn't formed based off of the merit of the individuals within the group, but based off of their relationship to Abraham.
Abraham is what we call a corporate head. The corporate head is chosen to be the person through whom the group is defined. Therefore, the chosen people of God are the true descendants of Abraham.
This idea of "true descendants" is treated in more detail in the prophets and is a major theme of the NT, especially John, Romans, and Ephesians. But we see it very clearly even in the very beginning, for the Abrahamites are immediately winnowed down into the Isaacites, and then the Israelites. Indeed it is this winnowing process which is being referred to in Romans 9:6b-13.
The Headship of Christ
It is this same process which is at work in Christ. Jesus fulfills the OT by being the ultimate child of Abraham, so that those who are true children of Abraham turn to Christ. Thus Christ has become the true head of the chosen people of God. Just as God had chosen those who were born by the seed of Abraham, God has chosen those who have been reborn by the seed of Christ. Just like the Jews were chosen for being in Israel, now we are chosen for being in Christ.
It is important to note that our election is not grounded in us. It is not our power, ability, or even will which saves us. It is Christ. Christ is the chosen one, and we are only chosen because of our attachment to Him. This is why it is by faith that we are saved, for it is by faith that we are united to Christ.
True faith is not intellectual acceptance. It is relational commitment and trust, i.e. fidelity. I believe in gravity; I have faith in my wife. And just as faith unites my wife and me, so does faith unite us to Christ. And like Noah's family was saved by God election of Noah, we will be saved because God chose Him.
Our Place In Christ
So, if God chose a group, does that mean I am not chosen? Of course I am chosen, for I am one of the chosen. Any quality of the group extends to the individual, and the individual adds to the whole.
The corporate election concept is a national concept. We are part of the kingdom of God, and God's kingdom is a nation. By being a Christian, we belong to the nation of Christ, which is a monarchy ruled by Christ. Individually we are citizens of this nation. We are not afraid to use such corporate language when we talk about us being Americans, but for some reason we are wary of using this language when we talk about us being Christians.
The nation of Christ is our true home. The Bible describes us as being ambassadors, which means that we are not truly Americans. We are, in the sense that we have a dual citizenship, but our real home is in Christ, and our true destiny is bound up in Christ's kingdom. It is up to us to live it out.
* The first word in the Bible is "Bareshit" which is the construct form of "Baresh" which can mean "In the beginning" or "At the head". I mean it here as a double entendre.