Approaching Your Wedding Day, The Blessed Way
When we think of a wedding, we think of a beautiful day, elaborate décor, beautiful dresses, and of course the Bride and Groom. It is an honor to be asked to take part in a couple’s special day as an officiating Pastor. Weddings may look beautiful – but they are a lot of work, especially for the “happy couple” and their families.
In my experience – a wedding can unintentionally make or break the relationship between a pastor and the couple desiring to be married.
I want to outline the biblical standards we strive to abide by at Community Grace when congratulations are in order. I believe part of my role as a Pastor is to guide couples to see how their current choices line up with God’s will as revealed in the Bible - as they approach living life together as husband and wife.
As one person wrote – “Moving forward is not progress if we’re facing the wrong direction!”
Marriage Is God’s Design
Gen. 2…The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”…. But for Adam no suitable helper was found…. Then the LORD God made a woman…and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
God’s design has always been that marriage is a lifelong relationship between one man and one woman.
God Designed Marriage to Last
Some marriages don’t get off to a good start – but the Lord wants it to last and have a God honoring completion. Marriage is a lifelong covenant before God that probably many young couples don’t really think thru. They just are in love and want to be together. But be careful! It’s a very serious commitment.
Gary Thomas – “If you get married for trivial reasons, you will likely divorce for trivial reasons.”
God Designed Christian Marriage to Occur Between Christ Followers
2 Cor. 6.14-16 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
It can often be a heart wrenching life to be married to someone who just doesn’t know and love your Lord. An unbelieving spouse may get jealous when you give time and money and worship to Jesus, that they want for themselves! They just don’t understand. And it can create conflict and isolation when the Christian spouse always has to worship alone.
I know this is hard for some to read – but it is NEVER God’s will for a Christian to marry a non-believer. God will never lead you to deny His word. He will never reveal some unique truth to you that contradicts what he has made clear in Scripture. Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. (2 Cor. 6.14)
That’s why it’s so important to understand and apply these standards BEFORE you get emotionally connected with someone. After all, any relationship that is not the best for you, is not the best for them either.
God Designed Marriage to be Approached in Purity
This is one of the single most troubling issues today. Couples commonly live together or are sexually active leading up to their wedding day. A couple may even feel it’s sensible to “test the waters” before they carve out life together.
But in fact, living together before marriage statistically puts the couple at greater risk for divorce.
Being sexually active before marriage is always an act of placing my will above Gods.
Mk. 7.21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality…adultery.
Acts 21.25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from … sexual immorality.
1 Cor. 6.13 The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
1 Cor. 6.18 Flee from sexual immorality…
Eph. 5.3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality…
1 Cor. 7.2 But since there is so much immorality…each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.
The Bible has many similar passages.
Some may claim, “nobody cares about that anymore”. Obviously, God does.
Prov. 4, Matt 5, Mt. 15.19, Mk. 7.21, John 8, Acts 15.20, Acts 15.29, Acts 21.25, Rom. 6, Rom. 13.13, 1 Cor. 5.1, 1 Cor. 6.13, 1 Cor. 6.18-20, 1 Cor. 7.2, 1 Cor. 10.8, 2 Cor. 7.1, Gal. 5.19, Eph. 5.3-17, Col. 3.5, 1 Thess. 4.3, 2 Peter 2.4-10, Jude 1.4 & 7, Rev. 2.14; 2.20; 2.21, Rev. 9.21.
If a couple is sexually active before their wedding, they are actually attempting to make God bow to their will. The couple publicly wants God’s blessing on their wedding day, but have not obeyed Him privately in order to secure that blessing. Not good!
1 Thess. 4.3-6 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Pastors at Community Grace can only officiate weddings for couples who commit (or recommit) to wait until they are married before they become sexually active. However, we must also remember that…
Many relationships have gotten off to a rickety start. Maybe there were ungodly habits or abusive tendencies in your past.
Will God forgive? Yes!
If you are willing to come before the Lord and confess your sin and make things right by lining up with His will from this point forward – there is great hope! (1 Jn. 1.9) What you have done wrong can be forgiven. What you have been in the past is not all you can be.
1Cor. 6.11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The Question of Divorce
Another common issue occurs when either the bride or groom (or both) was previously married and that marriage ended in divorce. These matters prove challenging because it puts the pastor in a difficult situation, usually without the benefit of a personal knowledge of the details. The biblical commands on divorce and remarriage are very narrow. Various pastors have different convictions on how to interpret the Scriptures on this highly debated topic. As a result, personally I am rarely at peace considering officiating a wedding for divorced persons. I have found it’s better to be up front about this issue.
Please understand it’s not personal.
I am simply trying to honor the Scriptures as I understand them, as well as be sensitive to my own conscience.
Whether I can officiate your wedding or not, I truly wish all engaged couples, God’s very best. In order to receive His best, we must certainly obey His commands. May you honor His plan before, during and after your wedding day!
Jeffrey K. Peeler
Community Grace Brethren Church
1216 Raystown Road
Everett, PA. 15537
If you are getting married and would like more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.