For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Eph 1:4 – bold mine)
There is much rejoicing in Cleveland today. Cav fans provide us with a great example of corporate election.1
Cleveland fans love the Cavs. As a result of loving the Cavs, they also love players who are on that team. Players come and go. The fans’ fondness of a particular player is typically based on whether or not that player is a member of the Cavs.
Cleveland fans were FORMERLY quite enthusiastic about LeBron James. However, when Lebron left the team for Miami, the fans were not quite as pleased with him as they once had been (to put it nicely). Their enthusiasm for LeBron was conditional on his association with the Cavs.
Corporate election is quite similar. Corporate election focuses on our association with Christ. God chooses individuals corporately in Christ, rather than choosing particular individuals because of hidden reasons. If someone believes in Christ, God accepts that person as a consequence of his identification with Christ. If someone rejects Christ, God rejects that person, because the individual’s election is conditioned on being “in Christ”.
This view of election fits nicely with Ephesians 1:1-14. Notice how many times the phrases “in him” or “in Christ” are repeated in the passage. Election is corporate and Christ centered.
Corporate election is not about God choosing certain individuals, but rather about him choosing the group of individuals who trust in Christ.
1 I’m borrowing this analogy from a similar one used by Brian Abasciano. See his article: Clearing Up Misconceptions About Corporate Election