By Aaron Elder
I live in the United States and I am incredibly thankful for the culture that we live in that is almost entirely built on the foundations of Christianity. There is, however, an aspect to our Western world that has clouded our understanding of the way God works with men. What is that aspect? Individualism.
Now, individualism by itself isn’t a bad thing, God calls us to be responsible for ourselves, to work with our hands in such a way as to honor God. The problem it has created in our faith communities is the idea that God’s primary dealing with men(people) is individual. God’s primary way of working with men is corporate while still dealing with the individual.
The interesting thing is that we actually see this played out in our world, we just don’t call it “covenantal.” Amazon.com functions the way it does corporately because of its covenantal head – Jeff Bazos. And every individual has imputed to them the benefits (and curses) of the corporation. The benefits may include insurance, 401(k) and certain discounts. The curses could include long work hours. And the culture could be a blessing or a curse depending on the company! There are certain conditions to the covenant between the corporate and the individual (put on your Genesis 15 lenses). If the individual substantially violates the covenant, the individual will be excluded from the corporation. If the corporate substantially violates the covenant, then you have Enron. All parties of the covenant are torn in two until the proverbial blood runs out.
In terms of how God deals with mankind with regard to salvation, Romans 5 is a very helpful chapter. God’s view of men is that every individual is included under a covenantal head – either Adam or Christ. Whether we are in Adam or in Christ, the traits of the covenant head are imputed corporately, but expressed individually. Every individual is born into “Adam, Inc.” That corporation is run on cowardice and every evil intention as imputed from the founder, Adam. Unless we are brought under Christ’s Lordship to have His righteousness imputed to us, we will be irrevocably torn and excluded from the covenant people of God. We are effectively telling God that we will walk through where Abram would not, come what may. Yikes.
You may be thinking, what does this have to do with my marriage? How about everything… When we enter into a marriage covenant, we do so as individuals with our respective wives. But that isn’t where it ends. Marriage is also a covenantal relationship with God and is thus corporate. And men, God has named you as corporate representative. God has given us an awesome responsibility to work with Him to love and lead our families.