“The repentance that Christ requires of His people consists in a settled refusal to set any limits to the claims which He may make on their lives. Our Lord knew– who better?– how costly His followers would find it to maintain this refusal, and let Him have His way with them all the time, and therefore He wished them to face out and think through the implications of discipleship before committing themselves.
He did not desire to make disciples under false pretenses. He had no interest in gathering vast crowds of professed adherents who would melt away as soon as they found out what following Him actually demanded of them. In our own presentation of Christ’s gospel, therefore, we need to lay a similar stress on the cost of following Christ, and make sinners face it soberly before we urge them to responded to the message of free forgiveness.
In common honesty, we must not conceal the fact that free forgiveness, in one sense, will cost everything; or else our evangelizing becomes a sort of confidence trick. And where there is no clear knowledge, and hence no realistic recognition of the real claims tat Christ makes, there can be no repentance, and therefore no salvation. Such is the evangelistic message that we are sent to make known.”
–J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1961/2008), 81.