There have been attempts by various people throughout history to find places in the world where no law can touch them, truly free places where they can establish their own countries, flout the feeble laws of man, and become their own masters. International waters, unclaimed lands and the edges of the world have all been declared autonomous by such would-be sovereigns.

I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.

Psalm 199:45

But it is not the ability to ignore the laws that govern others that makes one free. From the earliest times of kings and chiefs, it was the agreements on limitations which established rights. After all, if a farmer on this side of a river can’t count on the army to keep the enemy on the other side of the river, he will leave after the first raid and crops for the country are lost, so treaties were made. It is the same within a country; if stealing is not punished, then no one is safe and food, shelter, water and clothing all become things to be taken with no repercussions.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:12-13

God establishes the same type of order for people in the Spiritual domain. It is not the ability to do whatever one wishes that constitutes freedom, but the ability to do what preserves the rights of others. The Old Testament Law, established for governing a country with borders and mortal rulers, was based on the need to keep some protected from others. “Be kind” does not suffice as a legal statute. The New Testament teachings, built out from that law, are inscribed on our hearts with the same intention, only adding to the physical boundaries of a person or property, the soul is also being defended.

“No man is an island”; when English poet and minister John Donne spoke those words in a sermon so many years ago, he reflected a great truth of Scripture. There are no Spiritual international waters, no unclaimed strips of heaven. We have freedom in protecting the freedom of others to access Grace.

Ethan Kirl