A Scriptural Refutation of

The Teachings of Zane Hodges,

Joseph Dillow and the

Grace Evangelical Society,

with Respect to

the Future Inheritance,

Glory, and Destiny of the Church

Christ’s Beloved Body & Bride

by James Ventilato


Particular aspects of the nature, reign, inheritance, heavenly glory, and infinite blessing of Christ’s beloved Body & Bride (comprised exclusively of all believers saved from Pentecost to Pre-Trib Rapture) in and with her Head, Life & Bridegroom:


Section 3: The Fullness and Infinite Richness of Blessing, and the Superlative and Eternal Inheritance of the Heavenly Body and Bride of Christ.



Joint-heirs with Christ--Does this include all saints?



(17) “For ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were [Spirit] baptised into Christ, have put on Christ. There is no Jew nor Greek; there is no bondservant nor freeman; there is no male and female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus: but if [since] ye be Christ’s [which all believers are], then ye are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise [not according to works, merit, perseverance, or worthiness].” (Gal. 3:26-29)

“Manifestly, if each one of us is in Christ, Christ must be the same for each and all of us. There can be no distinction here. For distinction, we must look away from Christ; but if then we ‘are Christ’s,’ then ‘are we Abraham’s seed [or Seed],’ in the fullest way identified with the very One in whom the blessing was to be, identified with the very Heir of all blessing, and therefore heirs according to promise, ‘in the Seed:’ that is Christ, in whom we are.” – F.W. Grant (The Numerical Bible, Vol. VI, Acts to 2 Corinthians, p. 306)

“The object of the whole is to show that, important as the law was for bringing people’s transgressions plainly before them, yet now that a Christian has Christ, he has already confessed his sins, and has to do with another state of things altogether…. He takes up the grand distinctions of men naturally, and shows that these things did not characterise them as Christians. That which alone stamps me as such, is that I have Christ, and have put on Christ. ‘For ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.’ That is to say, they had not to pass under circumcision, or any other rite of the law, in order to get the promises. The Holy Ghost brings into these promises by having Christ. If you are striving to gain them by the law, you lose them; if you receive Christ, they are assuredly yours. He is the true seed of Abraham, and, having Christ, I have all the promises of God. ‘For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him amen, unto the glory of God by us.’ Thus, you see, he is giving the final touch to the great argument of the Holy Ghost throughout the whole passage: that the Gentile believer has nothing whatever to do with the law as a means of blessing from God; that he may use the law as a weapon against the ungodly, but that in Christ he has done with the question of law [as a principle] – has emerged definitely out of it all, and now he is in Christ. And if I am there, I have all that Christ can give. The point is, to give all the glory to Christ. The force of the passage must strike any thoughtful mind in looking round upon the present time. The evil against which Paul was warning them has now become overwhelming. In one shape or another the law is mingled with Christ; and therein you have poor Christians endeavouring to keep the two husbands at the same time [cf. Rom. 7:1-5]. It is not something that we merely describe about others, but most of us know it from experience. We have proved both its misery and the blessing of deliverance from it. And may God be pleased to vouchsafe the same deliverance to every child of His who has tasted as yet only the misery and not the deliverance.” – William Kelly (Lectures on the Epistle to the Galatians, p. 85,86)

(18) “But because ye are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So thou art no longer bondman, but son; but if [since] son, heir also through God [i.e., through God constituting us such; not through works or merit potentially making us heirs in the future].” (Gal. 4:6-7)

“…’thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.’ Observe, it is not what they shall be; not that they are always infants in this world, and shall get their blessing in heaven, but ‘thou art no more a servant but a son.’ If you were a Jew, you would be the servant of the law. But now, no matter what you were, if you had been an idolater, you have passed, in receiving Christ, into the fulness of the blessing that is due from God to His beloved Son [not due to us for imagined personal worthiness]. God has no blessing too great for the heart that bows to Him – ‘if a son, then an heir of God through Christ [cp. Rom. 8:17].’ He enlarges the sphere: it is not merely heir of this or that, but heir of God. What God possesses, what God will have in the blessed day that is coming, He will share with His children. And that is the meaning of the last clause in Ephesians i. 18. See also Romans viii. Such and no less, is the place for which God destines us; He does not mean to keep anything back. As grace has been, so the glory will be, God’s answer to the devil’s insinuation in Eden.” – William Kelly (Lectures on the Epistle to the Galatians, p. 100,101)

(19) “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we ARE children [born-ones, regenerated] of God. And if children, heirs also: heirs of God, and Christ’s joint heirs [Gr. sunklēronomos, used also in Eph. 3:6 and 1 Pet. 3:7]; if indeed [since] we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him [all saints in Christ suffer with Him; all are glorified with Him]. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed to [in regard to] us [us children of God, all of us, no exceptions].” (Rom. 8:16-18)

The “coming glory” to be revealed, according to the immediate context, pertains to entering experientially into the present position and possession of joint-heirship with Christ – upon glorification with Him at the Rapture and return with Him at the Revelation. Thus, as the coming glory will be revealed in regard to all of us who are the children of God, so also are all the children of God to be glorified with Christ and to enter experientially into their present position and possession of joint-heirship with Him.

Observe carefully that the Apostle Paul does not say that certain special suffering ones (or persevering, worthy ones) will become in the future joint heirs of Christ; but rather, that all children of God are now positionally joint heirs of Christ, which is proven by the fact that we all co-suffer with Him and will thus be co-glorified with Him (and enter experientially into our present position and possession of joint heirship with Him who is Heir of all things).

The passage does not read, “And if children, heirs also: heirs of God; but we will become Christ’s joint heirs if suffer with Him….” Rather (and how blessedly full of Christ’s grace and truth!), “And since [we ARE, v.16] children, [we ARE] heirs also: [we ARE] heirs of God, and [we ARE] Christ’s joint heirs; since we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him.” And this – the present position and possession of joint heirship with Christ by all believers – is clearly confirmed by all that has been brought out from the Scriptures thus far, as well as by Eph. 3:6 and 1 Pet. 3:7 (see below).

Suffering with Him, then, is a necessity (by the very nature of the case: by virtue of who and what we are in Christ), but in no way as a meritorious or legal prerequisite to joint-heirship.

Further observe that the Apostle Paul states that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed in regard to us”; thus, how can this future glory (that of being co-glorified with Christ and entering experientially into joint-heirship with Him) possibly be a matter of, or be based on, our own works, merit, worthiness, “perseverance,” reward?? – since our present sufferings are of no weight in comparison to that blessed future glory! Therefore, it must be, and is, a matter of grace, all grace, and nothing but the sovereign grace of God in Christ Jesus! It is totally unlike the situation of things where the wages of sin – physical and spiritual death – are earned and can be compared to that which earns it (i.e., sin). Sin’s just and equitable pay, reward, and merit is death (sin deserves death). In stark contrast, our blessed future glory is exactly like the situation of things where the grace-gift of God – eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord – is not and cannot be earned by man, and thus no amount of imagined personal worthiness or merit of man is worthy to be compared to that which cannot be earned by man (i.e., eternal life in Him). Actually, eternal life in Christ Jesus for those who trust in Him are some of the wages of His work – the work of the Cross!

As noted previously, cf. also Eph. 3:6 and 1 Pet. 3:7 (below) for more overwhelming evidence that all believers are now, indisputably, joint-heirs with Christ – by grace, as part of their so-great salvation in Him.

“The subjects of the grace of the Cross are children of God. The [New Creation] race of the risen Christ have God for their Father. But if those who are participators with Christ in His risen life are the children of God, then they are heirs – and what heirs! Heirs of God – possessors with Him of what He possesses, all things ours! But it is through Christ that we have come into this wonderful inheritance. It is as being joint-heirs with Him it is all ours. We have no claim upon it. We are absolutely without title to it save as He holds the title to it for us. But if we are joint-heirs with Him, then we share with Him the sufferings of the time of His patience, so that our glorification will also be a joint-glorification with Him (verse 17).” – C. Crain (Readings on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 83)

“If born-ones, then heirs
– We have noted that the word for children here [v.17], tekna, is different from the word for adult-sons (huioi) of verse 14. The word indicates the fact that we are really begotten of God through His Word by His Spirit, and are partakers of His nature. Heirship is from relationship…. Now, if a man is really a child of God by begetting and birth, he becomes indissolubly God’s heir! This is a fact of such overwhelming magnitude that our poor hearts hardly grasp it. It is said of no angel, cherub, or seraph, that he is an heir of God. Believer, if you will reflect, meditate deeply, on this, I am born of God; I am one of His heirs! earthly things will shrink to nothing.”

“Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ
– I could not have the presumption to write these words if they were not in God’s holy Book. That a guilty, lost, wretched child of Adam the First should have written of him, a joint-heir with Christ, the Eternal Maker of all things, the Well-beloved of the Father, the Righteous One, the Prince of life – only God, the God of all grace could prepare such a destiny for such a creature! And, we may humbly say, perhaps, that God could only do this by joining us in eternal union with His beloved Son, as the Last Adam, the Second Man; having released us from Adam the First and all his connections, at the cross, and having placed us in Christ Risen, in all the boundless and everlasting rights of His dear Son, whom He has ‘appointed heir of all things!’ Ages after ages of ever-increasing blessing forever and forever and forever, lie in prospect for believers – for the joint-heirs!”

“ ‘That we may also be glorified together.’ This is the key to our question: WHO are to be glorified with Christ when He comes [all saints or some saints in Christ]? In Chapter Five Paul says (and that of, and to, all the saints), ‘We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ And in II Thessalonians 1.10 we read, ‘When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be marveled at in all them that believed.’…And again (Col. 3.4): ‘When Christ our life shall be manifested, then shall ye also (evidently all the saints!) with Him be manifested in glory.’ Again (I John 3.2): ‘Now are we (all the saints) children of God ... We know that, if He shall be manifested, we (all the saints!) shall be like Him; for we shall see Him even as He is!’ Such passages leave no room at all for a ‘partial rapture!’ [or for a ‘partial joint-heirship’ in a divided Body!] All the saints will share Christ’s glory.”

“It is difficult, impossible, to depict in language all of, or any real measure of, what is meant by the glory which shall be revealed toward us [v.18]. In fact, as we know, we are to be glorified with Christ, to share His glory, and appear with Him in glory.* [Author’s Footnote: *The expression ‘the glory which shall be revealed toward us,’ is translated ‘in us’ in the King James. This preposition (eis) is used twice, for example, in II Thess. 2.14: “Unto which also He called you through our gospel unto the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ This ‘glory’ is to be revealed ‘to usward’: not only to us, but in us, and therefore through us, to an astonished universe; and that forever!]…. Such passages [as Colossians 3.4 and II Thessalonians 1.10] show that not only will the saints behold Christ’s glory, but, beholding, they will share that glory, and be glorified with Him. This is the great object before God’s mind now, to ‘bring many sons unto glory’ (Heb. 2.10), that they may be conformed to Christ’s image (Rom. 8.29). In constant view of that glory to be revealed in and through the Church, the sufferings which God called the saints to go through, no matter what they were, seemed as nothing.” – William R. Newell (Romans Verse by Verse, p. 315-317, 319)

“Here the reasoning, it will be remarked, is not to our being God’s children, but from it. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God: the inference is, that if children, we are also heirs. Wondrous to say, we are ‘heirs of God;’ more wonderful still, ‘joint-heirs with Christ.’ Israel were the lot of Jehovah’s inheritance. Not such is our place; we are heirs of what God possesses; and this is both asserted in all its fulness as well as accounted for in our added title – ‘joint-heirs with Christ’ [the Heir of all things]. We are to share all things with Him, for as all things are His by right of creation and redemption, so are they ours by His grace who has placed in the utmost possible nearness to Himself. There is indeed the condition of suffering with Him in order that we may be glorified together; but this He makes good in all that are His…. all suffer with Him, who have the divine nature, even Himself as their life, in an evil world, which constantly wounds and tries those who have that nature…. This suffering [together] flows from possessing life in Him whilst passing through a scene where all is opposed to Him…. Hence, if this place of suffering in the world as it now is be a necessary consequence of divine life surrounded by all that is working out its way of misery, estrangement, and rebellion against Him, it is an immense privilege to suffer with Christ, cheered along the road by the prospect of sharing His glory.” – William Kelly (Notes on the Epistle of the Romans, p. 142-144)

“Again, Rom. 8:17 draws out the mistaken comment that the Greek particles ‘always signify contrast.’ They may mean no more than distinction, like our ‘on the one hand’ and ‘on the other.’ All depends on the nature of the case intrinsically. Thus in 1 Cor. 12: 8 to one (μεν) a word of wisdom to another (δε) a word of knowledge, though here of different persons, were varieties rather than contrasts; and in Eph. 4:11 (μεν) apostles, and those (δε) prophets, were so far from being in contrast that they form a joint class in 2:20 and 3:5. But we need not go so far from here. Take for instance Rom. 6:11, ‘dead indeed to sin (μεν) and (or, but) (δε) alive to God in Christ Jesus.’ To make one grace, and the other conditional, is not only error but absurdity. And so it is [to] separate heirship of God from being joint-heirs with Christ, though it is expressly a gift of grace (as in Phil. 1:29) to suffer for Him as well as with Him. He who does not suffer with Him now has not His Spirit and is none of His. It is perversion to make such a contrast in Rom. 8: 17, and 2 Tim. 2:11, 12. The contrast, if any such thing were intended, would be with the millennial saints who enjoy entire exemption front such suffering, and therefore do not reign with Christ during the thousand years. But to make this of works is utterly unscriptural; for good works characterize all saints as born of God.” – William Kelly (W. Kelly’s Writings on Prophecy, p. 177, “The Prize of Our High Calling” by J. Sladen: A Review by W. Kelly )

For further discussion of the fact that all believers suffer with Christ see comments on 2 Tim. 2:12 in Section II (9) above.

May I ask, in passing, in regard to those believers or “bastards” (Hodges’ label) which are cast into “outer darkness”: of what real value or good is it to these poor unworthy ones that they are reckoned as “heirs of God” (which you acknowledge all believers to be, though not all are “joint-heirs with Christ”)? What precisely is your understanding of the significance of being an “heir of God,” and what Scripture(s) do you base that on? Does not being an “heir of God” imply having an “inheritance”? What sort of inheritance might that be in the outer darkness? Or can the benefit of being an “heir of God” also be lost after all, by unpersevering or unworthy believers? If so, then why the great emphasis on differentiating between, and bifurcating, “heirship of God” and “joint-heirship with Christ”? Is “heirship of God” by grace, or is it really similar to your works-based view of being a “join-heir with Christ”?

(20) “[The mystery] that the Gentiles ARE joint heirs [Gr. sunklēronomos, as in Rom. 8:17], and a joint body, and joint partakers [Gr. summetochos] of His promise in Christ Jesus by the glad tidings [i.e., by grace through faith in the Person and work of Christ – not by works, merit, reward, perseverance, faithfulness].” (Eph. 3:6)

“Now the [believing] Gentiles are ‘fellow heirs and of the same body.” Fellow-heirs with whom? With Christ, and with all who are in Christ. Whether Jews or Gentiles, they are fellow-heirs. Grace has put them on common ground.” – William Kelly (The Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 122, 123)

“The heirship itself…is different, therefore, from that which the Old Testament promises revealed [in regard to earthly saints]. It is in another sphere altogether. The Christian blessings are in the heavenly places, and the inheritance, as has been already shown us [in Eph. 1], is an inheritance with Christ [the Heir of all things]. We are co-heirs in this way, also, in a higher and more wonderful position than the Old Testament ever spoke of for any saints whatever.” – F.W. Grant (The Numerical Bible, Vol. VI, Acts to 2 Corinthians, p. 336)

“In this mystery of the Church there is revealed an inheritance which is far greater than any blessing promised to earthly Israel during the coming kingdom. Both, believing Jews and Gentiles are joint-heirs of Christ, and in the coming day of glory they will reign and rule with Him….. Israel’s promises will be fulfilled, and they will be under Christ as King, when He comes to reign. But the body of Christ has far greater promises in Christ. The body will be joined to the head, share the glory of the head and be where the head is. The Head, Christ, and the body, the Church, composed of believing Jews and Gentiles, joint-heirs, joint-members, joint-partakers – this is the mystery.” – Arno C. Gaebelein (Gaebelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 995,996)

(21) “Ye husbands likewise, dwell with them according to knowledge, as with a weaker, even the female, vessel, giving them honour, as also fellow-heirs [joint-heirs, Gr. sunklēronomos, as in Rom. 8:17] of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7)

“Another consideration consists of a still higher plea: – ‘as also fellow-heirs of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered.’ Though the married estate is essentially of the earth, yet those here in view were the redeemed of God, His children. ‘And if children, heirs also; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.’ Husband and wife, being Christians, are appealed to as in a relationship by grace which shall never pass away. When Christ our life shall be manifested, then shall they exchange the present exposure to sorrow and suffering, in which we give God thanks, for that exceeding weight of glory, into which Christ has entered as our fore-runner, whilst we are waiting for Him. O dear brethren, recognise your blessedness, and count the heaviest trial but light affliction and momentary. Look not at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are for a time, but those that are not seen eternal.” – William Kelly (The First Epistle of Peter, p. 186,187)

(22) “But ye have come to mount Zion; and to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem; and to myriads of angels, the universal gathering; and to the assembly of the firstborn-ones [plural] who are registered in heaven; and to God, judge of all; and to the spirits of just [O.T.] men made perfect; and to Jesus, mediator of a new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling, speaking better than Abel.” (Heb. 12:22-24)

Believers – all believers – who form the Body & Bride of the Lord Jesus are here designated as “the Church of the firstborn-ones;” their title being drawn from Him who is the Firstborn Heir of all things (Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2), as they are in eternal union, oneness, and identification with Him.

“As a company of people the bride is called ‘the church of the firstborn’ (Heb. 12:23), that is, those who are higher in position than any others.” – Herman A. Hoyt (The End Times, p. 232)

“Further, the Christian Hebrews are said to have come ‘to the assembly of firstborns enrolled in heaven.’ There need be no hesitation in identifying this heavenly company. It is the church of God…. The day of Pentecost (that followed His death, resurrection, and ascension) first saw the new sight [of the Church, Christ’s heavenly Body & Bride]. It is described here according to the divine design of the Epistle. This accounts for putting forward the aggregate of those who compose it, firstborn ones, rather than the elsewhere familiar [terms]…of the body of Christ, and of the temple of God – His habitation by the Spirit. And those who compose it are here characterised: (1) in relation to Him who was carefully shewn us in chap. i. to be the Firstborn, the established Heir of all things; (2) in relation by grace to our proper and destined sphere of glory, heaven, and not earth where Israel as such rightly look for their blessedness and triumph under Messiah’s reign. Those who are holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, being children, are heirs also, heirs of God and Christ’s joint-heirs. He is Firstborn, alone in personal right and result of His work; but they are also firstborn truly though of divine grace. And further, they are enregistered or enrolled in heaven by divine counsel and the same grace, citizens of heaven which justly pales every other citizenship and lifts above it.” – William Kelly (An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 250)

“[‘Church of the firstborns’:] those who, expressly as lost ones saved irrespectively of special promises (after all seemed a hopeless ruin of Jew no less than Gentile in the cross of Christ), were brought into the nearest association with Him for heavenly places. ‘And an assembly of firstborns, enrolled in heaven’ by sovereign grace as angels are not, and called to reign with Christ which a created angel never is. If we do not hear of them as Christ’s body and bride of the Lamb, as the apostles Paul and John speak elsewhere, their being heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ is here recognized in the remarkable title of these as individuals. Contrary to nature which admits of but one in human limits, here they were all and equally firstborns, as He who in His own right infinitely above them deigned to treat them as His ‘fellows,’ in no way ashamed to call them ‘brethren’ (chaps. 1, 2), His holy brethren partakers of a heavenly calling, not like Israel of an earthly one however grand. They were enregistered in heaven as their proper fatherland in sovereign grace…. The richest manifestation of grace in Christ is toward the church….” – William Kelly (Not Sinai, but Zion, With Other Coming Glories Heavenly and Earthly, an article originally appearing in The Bible Treasury, New Series 5:106ff, and cited in the Jan/Feb 1998 issue of Thy Precepts, Vol. 13, #1, p. 18,19)

(23) “Hear, my beloved brethren: Has not God chosen the poor as to the world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to them that love Him [i.e., all of His elect; cf. Rom. 8:28]?” (James 2:5)

To whom has God promised that they should inherit the kingdom? The Word is clear: “those that love Him.” And who are those that love God? The answer is obvious, and the Word is clear: “But we do know that all things work together for good to those who love God, [that is,] to those who are called according to purpose. Because whom He has foreknown, He has also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He should be the firstborn among many brethren. But whom He has predestinated, these also He has called; and whom He has called, these also He has justified; but whom He has justified, these also He has glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30) Paul here unmistakably equates the elect/believers of this Grace Age with those who love God.

Thus we see that James unquestionably teaches that all of the Church Age elect/believers inherit the kingdom of God – as they, and they all, are lovers of God (necessarily so, by virtue of the new birth, being partakers of the divine nature; “according to His own will begat He us by the word of truth,” James 1:18).

Notice too that, according to the inspired words of James 2:5, our inheritance of the kingdom of God is based on His election (thus according to grace): for God has “chosen” us to be “heirs of the kingdom.” Just as every believer has been chosen out of the world by God in eternity past unto salvation (2 Thess. 2:13), likewise has every believer been chosen out by God in eternity past to inherit the kingdom of God (which inheritance is actually a facet of that to which we have been saved in Christ as His heavenly Body & Bride).

Will anyone dare posit the ridiculous notion of a double election, or an election within an election (after the Arminian sort), in a poor and desperate attempt to circumvent the plain teaching of James 2:5? That is, posit an unbiblical idea that in eternity past God chose out some, from amongst all those whom He elected unto salvation, to be the special inheritors of the kingdom of God (i.e., those particular elect ones whom He foresaw would be personally worthy, deserving, and persevering); while “passing by” the non-chosen elect (i.e., those particular elect ones whom He foresaw would be unworthy, undeserving, and unpersevering, and thus fit themselves for “outer darkness”)?!


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