When walking into a mall, airport or any public place, it's likely that security will have to check you before entering. We go through metal detectors, screenings, checks, and so on.
Sadly, people walking into a church sometimes can face a somewhat parallel situation. But instead of having metal detectors, church people might put up detectors for sin or political correctness.
God never meant for the church to be this way. That's because He invites us to come as we are. Revelations 22:17 tells us, "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price."
Got invites all to come to Him freely. That's because He loves us.
But at some point this understanding can go to a whole new extreme. Some might think that because God tells us to come freely, that He's OK with every single thing that we do whether it's pleasing to His sight or not.
God loves us. Period.
Have you ever heard anyone say, "God likes you just the way you are. You don't have to change a thing." As well-meaning and affirming as a statement like that can sound, it can actually do us more harm than God.
Yes God loves us, but many times He will be dismayed by things we might do—things that are sinful, immoral, selfish, and sometimes downright reckless.
God loves us, but it doesn't mean He approves of what we do to others and to ourselves. God loves us, but not our sin, shame, guilt, lack, fear or worry because He wants better things for us. He does accept and affirm each and every one of us, but through the process God longs to transform us all.
God's love will turn us into someone we're not
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
When we come to God, we're never be the same again. His intent is to make us someone better, more loving, more responsible, more wise, and more blessed than we once were.
God is OK with us, but He knows that we can be so much more than what and who we are today. Moreover, He guides, directs, and provides for us in a way that makes us grow more and more into His likeness and holiness. He gives us the ability to change and continues to be proud of us through the process.
We are affirmed through Christ alone
In all honesty, God could take one look at even the nicest person alive and still be disgusted. Romans 3:23 reminds us how we've all fallen short terribly and greatly of God's glory and standard. But through Jesus Christ who took our shame and imputed upon us His righteousness, we now look nothing like we once were but are now considered loved and affirmed through Christ.
It's through faith alone in Jesus and His finished work that we can approach the Father blameless and worthy. God loves us, but with sin in our hearts He cannot be with us. But through Jesus' atoning sacrifice we can now come freely to God affirmed, loved and accepted completely by grace only, to be transformed and renewed through the process as well.