The kingdom of God is within you.
It reigns in the heart by the law of God; it sets up its dominion over the passions, and brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
In the elect of God, in their hearts; it being of a spiritual nature, and lying in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; in the dispossession of Satan, the strong man armed; in the putting down of the old man, sin, with its deceitful lusts, from the throne; and in setting up a principle of grace, as a governing one; and so escapes the observation of natural men, and cannot be pointed at as here, or there. The work of grace is an internal thing; it is wrought in the hearts of men; it has its seat in the inward parts, and is therefore called the inner, and the hidden man. It is oil in the vessel of the heart, an inward principle of holiness in the soul, or spirit of man, produced there by the Spirit of God, and it is a very glorious thing, since it is signified by a kingdom. It is a rich treasure; it is gold tried in the fire, which makes rich; it is an estate, that good part, and portion, which can never be taken away; it is preferable to the greatest portion on earth men can enjoy; even the largest and richest kingdom in the world is not to be compared with it; it is a kingdom which cannot be moved; and as it is glorious in itself, it makes such glorious who are partakers of it. The King's daughter is all glorious within (Psalm 45:13). It is high in the esteem of God; it is the hidden man of the heart, but it is in His sight of great price. It reigns, through righteousness, to eternal life; and by it, Christ, as King of saints, lives and reigns in His people.
Within you (εντος υμων — entos humōn). This is the obvious and the necessary meaning of εντος. The examples cited of the use in Xenophon and Plato where εντος means “among” do not bear that out when investigated. There is no clear instance of εντος in the sense of among, and rightly so. The only other instance of εντος in the NT (Matthew 23:26) necessarily means “within” (“the inside of the cup”). There is in the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus a saying which is interesting: The kingdom of heaven is within you (εντος υμων - entos humōn) as in Luke 17:21.
Look not for it in distant times or remote places: it is come: it is present in the soul of every true believer: it is a spiritual kingdom, an internal principle. Wherever it exists, it exists in the heart.
Some have thought it strange that Jesus should say "within you" when addressing the Pharisees, but the word "you" is used generally and indefinitely.
It is over this inward kingdom, the kingdom of the soul, that Christ rules. It is within this kingdom that He energises. It is out of this kingdom that His glory has to proceed. And they who search to discern Him in spirit and life, in holy expression of consecrated faculty, in the energy of capacities dedicated to God, will find Him; and they will find that in these He is all in all.
Though the kingdom of God, in its highest sense, certainly occupies space, we are quite sure, nevertheless, that we will find heaven much more a state than a place. We know already, even here, that happiness does not depend on where we are. Happiness is a condition of mind. We carry about with us a feeling which makes the atmosphere, which determines the colour of the prospect. And what is all this? What is this great moral truth, which commends itself to every man's experience, but an approach to, and a part of, that truth, The kingdom of God is within you?
I believe that every one, in this present world, is gradually but surely ripening, and getting like the state—whichever the state may be—where he is to live for ever and for ever. The final condition of a saint in glory is only the growth and the increase and the extension of his life on earth. He has been constantly assimilating to his own perfected condition in another world. The heaven is in him long before he goes to heaven.
Heaven, we are led to expect, will be: (1) Light. But what are the emanations of that light? Truth, clearness, uprightness. And that is heaven. If you are a child of God, there is in your heart, transparency, strict justice, perfect truthfulness. The kingdom of heaven is within you. (2) Harmony. If you are a man that loves unity, if you hate variance, if you are doing all that in you lies to make the Church's unity—then, in so far, the kingdom of God is within you. (3) Singleness of purpose. Whichever of us can say, One thing I do—whether I eat or drink, whatever I do, I try to do it to the glory of God—then, the kingdom of God is within you. (4) Humility—every angel covering his face with his wing. If I see a man very little in his own eyes I know that the kingdom of God is within him. (5) Through all heaven, it is the one felt Presence of Christ which is, to all hearts, all their joy; because He is there. And, just according to what Jesus is to you, the kingdom of God is within you.
It is of an internal and spiritual character, as opposed to the outside views of it: so the Fathers understood it.
The marginal reading, among you. has been adopted, somewhat hastily. So taken, the words emphatically assert the actual presence of the Kingdom. It was already in the midst of them at the very time when they were asking when it would appear. The use of the Greek preposition is, however, all but decisive against this interpretation. It is employed for that which is within, as contrasted with that which is without, as in Matthew 23:26, and in the LXX version for the “inward parts,” or spiritual nature of man, as contrasted with the outward (Psalms 103:1; Psalms 109:22; Isaiah 16:11). It was in that region, in the life which must be born again (John 3:3), that men were to look for the kingdom; and there, whether they accepted it or rejected it, they would find sufficient tokens of its power.
You blind Pharisee. First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.