Two: Arminian Corporate Election (CE) fails to factor-in the two-fold election of Christ, which disallows the idea that we can share in His election.
Arminian CE describes election in a manner that only takes in one aspect of Christ’s election. While it acknowledges that Jesus was chosen to be both the Corporate Head of the Church and its Savior, it fails to factor-in His election to be the Savior of the Church. Or at least it doesn’t factor it in correctly or in a manner that is consistent with their position on CE.
What do I mean?
In truth, Jesus was first and foremost chosen to be the Savior of the Church, which then allowed Him to be the Head of the Church. For it was via the cross that He became Savior and Head of His people (His Church). Thus we see that Christ’s election had a twofold purpose — a twofold purpose that cannot be separated. Therefore, true CE must be interpreted according to that twofold purpose, according to the twofold election of Christ — not solely according to His election to be the Corporate Head of the Church.
With the twofold purpose of Christ in mind, how is it possible that we can share in His election, as Arminian CE teaches? His election is not our election. Rather, Jesus was elected to be our Savior; we were elected to be saved. He was elected to be our provision; we were elected to be the receiver of what He provided. He was elected to be Head of His Church; we were elected to be the Church, to be individual members of the Church. Therefore, it’s not possible that we can share in Christ’s election. We can only share in our own as believers, as members of His Church.
God chose a people out of this world for Himself. That’s our election. He chose Christ to be the plan to make that happen. That’s His election. His election is unique to Himself. Our election is unique to us. The two are not the same. Directly connected yes, but not the same. One is an election to rescue, and the other is an election to be rescued.
To be clear, I’m not saying that we aren’t the elect people of God in Christ. I’m not saying that we aren’t “chosen in Christ” (Eph 1:4). It’s a matter of how we define that. Of course our election is in Christ. There is no election as a people apart from Him. The point I’m making is that we don’t share in Christ’s election. He has His election, and we have ours. Although we are in union with Christ, we do not and cannot share the same election. Again, Christ’s election is unique to Himself. Our election is unique to us. So my point is that it’s not our union with Christ that defines our election. Rather, our union with Christ reveals our election, that we were elected to that union.
So we see that Arminian CE is based on a false premise: that we can share in Christ’s election. That His election is our election. It’s a position based on the premise that since we are in union with Christ, that alone is what constitutes our election. Because, according to that position, to be elect means to share in Christ’s election, via union with Him through faith in Him. However, in order to share in Christ’s election, we would have to share in His election as both Savior and Head of the Church. But that’s obviously something we cannot do. He was elected to be the Savior of the Church. His election is, thus, to redeem. Our election is to be redeemed. Furthermore, Jesus was elected to be the Head of the Church. His election is, thus, one of authority. Our election is one of submission. Jesus cannot be both Head of the Church and the Church itself. Likewise, we cannot be both the Church and the Head too.
Therefore, the idea that we can share in Christ’s election is erroneous. It’s based on a false premise. Christ’s election is not our election. His election is one of provision and headship. Ours is an election of receiving and subordination. He is the Head, we are the Body. The Head is not the Body. Nor is the Body the Head. Although the body and head are connected (in union), they are not the same. Therefore, the idea that we are elect in Christ on the basis of His election, is illogical. If election is solely one of union and identification with Christ, who shares in Christ’s election as the Chosen One, then that idea simply doesn’t work.
If all of this sounds preposterous, it’s because it is. But this is what we’re actually looking at in Arminian CE. However, once we properly identify the election of Christ and the election of His people (both corporately and individually), then there’s no way that we can share in Christ’s election via union with Him. The Arminian version of CE is demonstrably untenable.
We must conclude that true election is that we’re actually elected to be in union with Christ — both corporately as the Church, and as members who comprise the Church.
I would like to wrap this up with a brief discussion about Ephesians 1:4. The meaning of this verse, and the context in which it’s given, is not complicated. God “chose us in Christ” in the sense that there is salvation in no one else. In other words, we’re not chosen independently of Christ or separate from Christ. Our salvation can only be in Him. He is our salvation. Therefore, our election can only be in Him. Our salvation and election are directly related. We’re chosen in Christ for salvation, both corporately and individually. The election of one is the election of the other, and this occurred “before the foundation of the world.” Thus we come into the world as the elect of God.
When God chose a people for Himself, He chose them in the context of His Son. When God saw His Son, He saw His people. When God saw His people, He saw His Son. God’s choosing of His Son was in the context of His people. God’s choosing of His people was in the context of His Son. We are chosen in Christ in the sense that our election for salvation is directly linked to Christ’s election to save us. Therefore, being chosen in Him means that we are chosen together, as Redeemer and as the redeemed.
Both Jesus and His people were “foreknown” by God (1 Pe 1:20; Ro 8:29), and not in the general sense, but on a personal level. We know that is true of Christ, of course, who is the Second Person of the Trinity, and who has always existed. But it’s also true that God has always known His people, even though we have not always known Him. It’s these, whom He foreknew that He brings into the world as His elect. Christ’s election to save is our assurance that we will be saved as His elect people.