An altar is, a place of beginnings. in marriage it, is the initiation of a lifelong relationship. In salvation it is the initiation of an eternal relationship. Although the church altar in some churches is often the place where sinners make their peace with God, I am in no way inferring that it is the only place. Location is clearly irrelevant. Marriage vows are repeated in the aura of love. It is the love that gives the vows their power. Although we would like to say the vows should be a permanent, once-and-for-all exercise, for many they are not. In the United States today, we are faced with the tragic spectre of one out of every two marriages ending in divorce.
When you repeat your marriage vows, they are a public declaration of your intention to continue in the marriage. Without continuance, the altar and the vows are meaningless. When you prayed the “sinner’s prayer”, when you “confessed with your mouth”, it was a public declaration of your intention to continue in faith. Here again, although we’d like to say faith is a finished act, the Bible teaches that it is possible for an individual to wander away from his first love. When the flame of love begins to flicker and we grow lukewarm, the relationship is over (Revelation 3:15-16).
Inevitably someone will propose that it is possible to be separated and out of relationship and still be legally married. We need to remember that God will not force anything on us (including His name) that we do not want. To discuss requirements apart from relationship is legalism. To be legally united without a relationship is legalism. A relationship must move; it cannot be left at the altar!