The Kingdom of God Within
In Luke 17:21, Jesus mentions a kingdom of God within us. The original Greek text says, “The kingdom of God is within you.”
“Within you” is mentioned in the King James Version, New International Version and many other translations of the Bible. “Within you” is also mentioned in the Living Bible.
In the much-respected translation by Ferrar Fenton, it plainly says: “The kingdom of God exists within yourself.”
There are some translations, such as the Modern Language Bible, that erroneously state, “the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And the Revised Standard Version has it, “in the midst of you.” Some others state, “among you.” The reason for this corruption of Scripture will become abundantly clear in this article.
First, let’s see if we can prove by some other statement of Jesus Christ that there is a kingdom of heaven within that must be entered. In Matthew 23:13, Jesus scolded the scribes and Pharisees for not entering the kingdom of heaven within and not allowing others to enter. The Pharisees had taken away the key of knowledge of how to enter the kingdom of God within—by doing acts of righteousness daily for God. Not only did they fail to enter themselves but they were being stumbling blocks to those who were trying to seek God (Luke 11:52).
Jesus then gave the keys of the kingdom of God to Peter (Matt. 16:18-19). He gave Peter the knowledge of how to enter the kingdom of God within—by doing acts of righteousness for God without (towards others).
There you have it—the proof has been shown to you that there is a kingdom of God or heaven that is entered within.
How then, is it entered? Matthew 5:20 says it is entered by acts of righteousness—doing righteous acts or righteous deeds.
The Pharisees were no longer practicing righteousness to enter the kingdom within, but rather, they were practicing righteousness to be seen of men. Jesus sternly warned those who would follow Him to be careful not to fall into that deadly trap when they practiced righteousness (Matt. 6:1).
In Matthew 9:13 and 12:7, Jesus told the Pharisees that they were lacking in knowledge. The answer showing what they were lacking is found in Psalm 106:3: How blessed are those who practice charity (honesty and justice) and practice righteousness towards others at all times (Prov. 21:3). To do (practice) righteousness and charity (justice) towards others is desired by the Lord rather than sacrifice.
This is how a person becomes obedient to the faith of our Lord. This is the narrow Way that few find (Matt. 7:14). The Pharisees had lost the keys to the kingdom—the knowledge of how to repent daily and enter the kingdom of God within by performing acts of righteousness towards others daily to be obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7). But some of the Pharisees were in error—they were practicing self-righteous works. The very same is true for millions today who profess His name but deny Him daily by continuing to be worthless for any good deeds for God (Titus 1:16).
Dorcas, who was a true disciple of Jesus Christ, was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity, which she continually did towards others for the Lord (Acts 9:36). All of Jesus’ true disciples and followers were entering the kingdom within by practicing righteousness from without. They were persevering (continually doing good) because they sought for glory and honor and immortality (Rom. 2:7). This is how you obey the truth (Rom. 2:8-10). How many who profess Jesus Christ today are aware of this (John 3:21)?
The truth is something you must practice daily (1 John 3:10). And that truth is simply doing good for God daily by putting Jesus’ words into practice (John 8:51). If you continue to walk in your old way of life, you are not practicing the truth daily and you will die (1 John 1:6; Rom. 8:13).
If we live like Jesus gave us example to live by practicing righteousness, not only does Jesus’ blood cover our transgressions, but we will truly be born again (1 John 2:29; 1:7).
The followers of Jesus Christ were not ignorant. They knew that only those who did good daily for God were of God (3 John 11). And those who wouldn’t practice righteousness for God daily remained of the devil (1 John 3:10; John 3:21).
Now you can clearly understand why people incorrectly translate “the kingdom of God is among you” or “in your midst” instead of “within you.” It is because they knew they had not entered that “kingdom of God within.” It condemned them!
Jesus has a new nature waiting for you if you do not grow weary in doing good daily to please Him (2 Thess. 3:13; Gal. 6:9). In due time, we will reap that new nature if we don’t get weary in well-doing (Gal. 6:9). We will then be a new creature or creation (Gal. 6:15).
Jesus wants to reveal His new nature in you, but in order to do that you must be tested, and you must suffer a little, while you continue to practice doing what is right in God’s sight (1 Peter 4:12; 5:10; 1 John 3:22).
Here you have it, if you have been given eyes to see:
1) The kingdom of heaven is within you.
2) You enter it by disciplining yourself to practice righteousness daily towards others for God.
3) Your righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. Until you do the Will of God, which is righteousness, from your heart, you simply will not enter His kingdom (Eph. 6:6; Matt. 5:20).
This is how Christ’s nature is formed in you (Gal. 4:19). This is how you enter the kingdom of heaven within (Matt. 7:21). This is how you overcome your evil nature by keeping Jesus’ works and endure to the end (Rev. 2:26). This is how you put to death the deeds of the body so you will live forever (Rom. 8:12-13).
This is how you discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness and thus, force your way into that kingdom within (Luke 16:16; 1 Tim. 4:7; 1 Cor. 9:24-27; Heb. 12:1; 1 Tim. 4:8). God will then reveal His nature in you (Rom. 8:18). He wants you to become a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
You now have the truth and you have been given the keys to the kingdom so you, too, can enter it. Study God’s word daily and the Spirit of Jesus will guide you into all truth, as it is happening and continues to happen to all those who are called of God.
It is time that millions of professing Christians who are on the broad way know the truth about the narrow Way that few find (Matt. 7:13-14). You simply must do good daily to be good daily, and learn righteousness by practicing righteousness daily for the Lord (Is. 1:16-17; Titus 3:14; Ezek. 33:31-33; Is. 26:10).