Love vs. Approval: There’s a Difference

If God really loves us just as we are, does that mean that He approves of everything that we do?  After all, He has made it abundantly clear in the scriptures that we don’t have to act a certain way to earn His love

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NASB95)

But just as parents can love their children and still not approve when they misbehave, God’s love doesn’t translate into him condoning our actions when they violate His standards.  Unlike His unconditional love, which is based on God’s own character and goodness, approval is actually related to judgment. 

One simple definition of “approve” is to have a favorable opinion of something.  Since sin is still sin, and God is still holy and just, we know He will never have a favorable opinion of our sinful actions, despite His great love for us.

God still loves us, even when we sin, but He wants us to turn. (excerpt from Feed The Seed & Meet The Need pt.3, by Dr. Chester C. Pipkin)

Thankfully, we don’t have to be discouraged just because God’s love doesn’t equate to approval.  In fact, His love is what makes it possible for us to change.  Without it, we would be powerless to escape the habits and behaviors and mindsets that would destroy us.

Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4 NLT)

The devil tries convince us that God’s disapproval means He doesn’t love us. Or conversely, that His love implies His approval of whatever we want to do.  But don't believe those lies! Instead, trust in the Lord’s great love so that when He reveals things that don’t meet His approval, you will let His love empower you to overcome sin and be transformed into all that He made you to be.