Communion and living together

Can I take communion if I live with my fiancé? We are getting married in about a month, and I have not been taking communion.

Thank you for your thoughtful approach to this important kind of question. Your spiritual well-being is of utmost importance and your desire to receive the Lord’s Supper in a fitting way is a good evidence that you need clear answers to your concerns.

One of the requirements for a proper reception of Communion is that the person is not guilty of willful sin (that is, sinning when you know it is sin but for some reason continue to commit that sin). While we are all sinners, God calls us to express daily sorrow for sin and repentance, which includes reliance on Jesus as our Savior. Living with someone who is not your marriage partner (even a fiancé) is a sin since, as normally defined, it involves sexual immorality and causes others to stumble spiritually when they observe your lifestyle and get the impression this is compatible with Christian lifestyle. This calls for repentance that involves a rejection and turning away from the sin as well as a turning to Christ for pardon and new life.

In short, as long as you fail to repent of this sin, you are not in a position to receive Communion in a proper and beneficial way. It would be spiritually harmful.  You are to be urged to stop this sinful lifestyle, cast your guilt on Christ by faith, and then see yourself as a perfect candidate for blessings through the sacrament. Don’t seek to excuse your living arrangement on the basis of your scheduled marriage in a month or so. And don’t deceive yourself into thinking that once you are married you will then express sorrow for what you did and think everything is okay. You and I and all others are called by God to repent daily — now — and to reject sin and cling to Christ. And live a new life, starting every day.

I repeat: I am thankful that you have asked this question and that you still have a desire to take Communion. I believe this indicates that you are wrestling with a guilty conscience and understand within yourself that there is a special need for special assurances of God’s love. May you keep first things first, by rejecting sin and expressing repentance with faith. And may the same be true of your fiancé, who is equally guilty of sin and equally called to repent and rely on Jesus Christ.

I also recommend that you sit down with your pastor to discuss this more fully. He knows you and the situation better than I do and can give you more specific encouragements and counsel.