Rev. Kuiper is pastor of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The several words that are translated order in Scripture have the meaning of placing in a certain arrangement, to assign a place, to appoint, or to ordain. The reason that great emphasis is placed on order in the Bible is that God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:23), but the God of order. The life of the Triune God is a life of harmony and order. The order of His eternal decrees is logical and clear. His covenant with David was ordered in all things (II Sam. 23:5); His covenant proceeds in an orderly fashion with believers and their seed (Gen. 17:7). When God saves His elect, He does so following the order of salvation (regeneration, calling, faith, conversion, justification, sanctification, preservation, and glorification) that is suggested in Romans 8:30. He grants the gift of faith to as many as were ordained (ordered) unto eternal life (Acts 13:48).
The worship that pleases God is orderly worship. In the old dispensation the equipment of the temple was set in order before Him (Ex. 40:4); the priests were arranged in order and served according to orders (Luke 1:8); Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4). In the new dispensation all things should be done decently and in order in the church (I Cor. 14:40). Preaching is not a hit and miss proposition, but is an orderly presentation of the truth (Acts 11:14; 17:2, 3). Paul rejoiced in the good order manifest in the life of the church at Colosse (Col. 2:5). He himself walked orderly, keeping the law (Acts 21:24). Thus he is a good example to Christians because he did not behave himself disorderly (II Thess. 3:7).
The church today, guided by Scripture in worship and life, pays attention to good order. We have an order of worship which prevents the unexpected, the chaotic, and the inappropriate. We have a Church Order which spells out practically every aspect of congregational and denominational life. At our meetings we have agendas, and only a motion “to depart from the order of the day” allows us to proceed differently. Scripture calls us to withdraw ourselves from every brother that walks disorderly (II Thess. 3:6-11). A life of confusion is equated with every evil work (James 3:16).
Family life ought to be well-ordered life. Manoah asked the angel who had promised him a son (Samson), “How shall we order the child, and what shall be done with him?” (Jud. 13:12). Isaiah told King Hezekiah to set his house in order, for he shall die (II Kings 20:1). That this does not refer merely to the writing of a will and disposing of property is clear from Genesis 49, where Jacob gathers his sons around his bed, commanding his sons before he died. Dying parents speak in faith of their God and His good ways, give final instructions and encouragements, perhaps must sound some warnings and give dire prophecies. All the life of the family, the conduct of the members, the very appearance of the home, ought to reflect good order, sound management, and regular schedule.
The personal life of the saints is to be a life that is well-ordered. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Ps. 37:23). We are taught to pray that our steps are ordered in God’s Word (Ps. 119:133). When the child of God is in doubt, he feels full of confusion (Job 10:15), his confusion is ever before him (Ps. 44:15), and he fears being put to confusion (Ps. 71:1). He fears this because he knows that Scripture calls final destruction “everlasting confusion” (Jer. 20:11). But he that ordereth his conversation aright shall see the salvation of God (Ps. 50:23).
Today confusion reigns in society at large, in government, in the churches, homes, and schools. None of this is pleasing to God. Although the charge is brought against the church, that it has turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6), this charge is false. The hearing, believing, and living of the gospel brings peace, causes uproar to cease, and establishes good order in the kingdom of heaven. May that good order be evident in our churches, homes, and schools.