Hello minister Hamilton,
I reached out to you a few years back when I had questions and I wanted to get baptized into Christ and follow God. Well, these past two years I have been living with my girlfriend and we just found out we are expecting a child in May. We are both religious, and we want to do good in God's eyes. We love each other very much, and we want to get married before the child is born. We have talked about marriage, but we decided we would do it when we had enough money to do a big wedding. Now, we don’t care too much about that, but we want to get married. I know it doesn’t change that we sinned already, but is there a right way to go at this or should we just pray for forgiveness and repent and then get married? My girlfriend thought we should get rebaptized, but I don’t think that will make much difference. We just want to get married and be happy with our family without feeling like we are doing bad things.
If you have any words of advice, I could really use some.
As Paul pointed out, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Claiming to be religious is not compatible with living a lifestyle in rebellion against the very God you are claiming to follow. I'm glad you and your girlfriend realize this and want to change.
"For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter" (II Corinthians 7:10-11).
There has to be a radical shift in both the way you think about your sin and the way you behave. It sounds like you've reached that point. Fancy weddings are nice but you don't delay obeying God because of your desires. Weddings don't have to cost a lot of money. Put on your thinking cap and realize that you create a memorial event without spending a lot of money. As an example, when my wife and I married, we didn't have a whole lot of money.
- My wife has a gift for sewing, so she made her own wedding dress.
- We did buy flowers for her and the bridesmaids, but looking back, we decided that the real flowers probably went worth the extra expense.
- We reserved a picnic area at a state park for the wedding and reception (cost ... $0)
- We told those coming that the reception was going to be a potluck dinner. Everyone who came brought a dish to contribute.
- A friend of my wife baked the cake. My aunt was a cake decorator instructor, so she provided the decoration for the cake.
- We asked friends to sing at the wedding.
- My wife's aunt had a large rose garden and she provided the table centerpieces.
- A friend of another aunt had a cabin in a resort that they allowed us to use for a week for our honeymoon.
I've married couples under the trees at the local city park. I've done weddings for couples who just got married at a courthouse so that they would not break God's command and then saved up for a wedding later. My point is that you have lots of options and the more creative you are, the more memorable your wedding will turn out.
God's will is first, so do what He said and get married without delay. If I may suggest, before you head down the aisle to get married, go to God and confess that you have gravely sinned and that you have not honored Him or His teachings by putting your own desires first. Ask Him to forgive you and to bless your union as you get back on track (I John 1:9).
Baptism made you Christians and, sadly, Christians do get caught up in sin (I John 1:8,10). But what makes a child of God different from the world is that a Christian refuses to stay in sin. You don't have to re-enter the covenant by being baptized again. You just need to pick up the pieces and start following your covenant with Christ once again.