When you hear the word “order”, what comes to mind? I immediately think of structure, systems, and plans. Everything in its rightful place. When I consider the world we live in, I find it difficult to deny orderly design. When I say orderly design, I am not just referring to the belief in an intelligent Creator, although I am very interested in this subject and have read several books about the relationship between science and religion (I will site a few below). To me, evidence for orderly design can also be found in God’s design for relationships, community, work, worship, etc. As a Christian, I believe the God of the Bible has revealed Himself to us primarily through creation, Scripture, and his Son, Jesus Christ. And as image-bearers of God, I believe His revealed orderliness is intended to inform how we ought to live intentional and purposeful lives for His glory.
Order In Creation
God has revealed truths before us in creation. The universe we live in is by no means haphazard. Science and the natural world are both predictable and reliable. Remarkable patterns and symmetry emerge in things like snowflakes, seashells, and flowers. Every star moves with precision. Formulas and equations are fixed and exact. Biological ecosystems are systematically arranged and beautifully interdependent. The human body is wonderfully intricate as our eyes, ears, hearts, and lungs each work together with awe-inspiring accuracy. The physical world bears witness to our Creator’s eternal power, greatness, and beauty. The Divine Designer undeniably reveals His handiwork and orderliness through creation.
Psalm 19: 1-6 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Order In God’s Law
God not only reveals His majestic orderliness in creation, but also through His law in the Old Testament. Some places of Scripture (Leviticus, for example) portray God as incredibly particular. Whether we look at laws concerning sacrifices, tithes and offerings, dietary restrictions, or the specifications for the building of the Tabernacle, God unveils a part of Himself that is seriously concerned with the details. He establishes an orderly framework of commands and proper behaviors for His people.
A good part of the Old Testament is spent explaining these laws and Israel’s continuous pattern of receiving God’s statutes and subsequently breaking them. Ultimately, the rebellion of God’s people led to wrath and destruction. But, the prophets of old spoke of a day when following God’s commands would feel less like duty and more like pleasure.
Psalm 119: 33-40 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statues;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding ,that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!
Order In Jesus Christ
We are all inadequate when it comes to fulfilling the demands of the law by our own moral efforts. The honest Christian will look back at the Old Testament and say, “these laws are impossible to keep!” No matter how hard we try, our sin remains. On the surface, God’s law carries a burden that crushes us under the weight of His holiness.
Matthew 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
So, it is in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ that we see the true purpose for the law and divine order of God. Jesus came to condemn sin so that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled. God requires a righteousness that we cannot achieve or earn on our own accord. By God’s grace alone we are justified through faith in the perfect life, precious death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. When we understand the law through this lens it becomes a standard by which we see God’s holiness, our sinfulness, and our need for salvation. This is the true beauty of the gospel. That we might give up on our legalism and begin trusting in the One who satisfied the law on our behalf.
Romans 8: 3-4 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
It is my hope that God’s orderly design would push us to see and reflect on the gospel more clearly. His divine order calls us to live purpose-driven, intentional lives and echoes our great need for grace. Let us respond with honor and delight for God’s established order and design, knowing that it is always for our good and His glory.