How Do We Enter the Kingdom Within?
The Pharisees (religious leaders) and scribes (lawyers) of Jesus’ day knew God was going to send His kingdom to this earth, but they denied it was a spiritual kingdom (Luke 17:21). Jesus told the Pharisees that because they were practicing righteousness for hypocritical reasons, they were not entering the kingdom of God. They were not overcoming Satan, but giving in to him. They were not receiving a new godly nature themselves, and because they were not, they were hindering those who were trying to enter it (Matt. 23:13). They had taken away the key to the knowledge of how to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus told them several times what they were lacking in their message—justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matt. 23:23; 12:7; 9:13; Luke 11:52). But they refused to listen and understand this mystery (Matt. 13:11). So, Jesus gave the keys of knowledge on how to enter the kingdom of God to Peter and the other disciples (Matt. 16:19). He told them they must practice justice, mercy and faithfulness (Rom. 2:7 Psalm 106:3). He said they must study God’s word, understand what the Will of God is, and do it, in order to become disciples of the kingdom (Matt 13:52; Eph. 5:17; 2 Tim 2:15).
Jesus said, the kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed (Luke 17:20-21). Instead, it is inside you. It is a pleasant way of life (Matt. 11:30). It is entered by practicing righteousness (Rom. 14:17). But you must force your way into it (Luke 16:16; 13:24). You can become a sheep or you can remain a goat (Matt. 25:33-46). The choice is yours.