Most of us grew up in a culture that taught us that acceptance and approval are synonyms. We are accepted if we perform an approved behavior. Since it’s what we grew up with, we tend to treat each other this way: “I will reject you if you don’t live in a manner that I approve of.”   

But Scripture has a clear delineation between the two. A harmonious and important one. God gives acceptance freely, although we don’t deserve it. Approval however is something God gives based on the choices we make. 

Jesus fully accepted the woman caught in adultery. He didn’t reject her one bit. But He also did not approve of her adultery. He told her to “go and sin no more.” Why? As Jesus told the man he healed “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

Like any good father, God may disapprove of what we do. He will reward what is in our best interest. But even so, will never reject who we are. We are his children and that is something we can never lose.

The Father’s acceptance and approval are twin pillars of his love for us. Nothing can separate us from His unconditional acceptance. All the while, God will be approving that which brings us life while dissuading us from pursuing that which brings us destruction. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. 

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 8:38-39