“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).

Many churches, especially over the past couple of centuries, have used the fear of hell and punishment to convince people to repent of their sins and become Christians. It used to work but not so much anymore. People are turned off by the message of an angry God holding their feet over hot coals. Instead of scaring them into action, this message turns them completely away from God.

Think of a parent browbeating his children into obedience – how well does that work? Children respond much better to love and kindness. Their obedience comes from not wanting to disappoint the one they love so much. Paul’s message focuses on God’s kindness and patience, which is much more attractive – both the message and the kind God we love.