One Men’s Devotional states: “God’s love for you is deeper and more profound than you can imagine. God’s love for you is so great that He sent His only Son to this earth to die for your sins and to offer you the priceless gift of eternal life. Now, you must decide whether or not to accept God’s gift. ... It’s a decision that you cannot ignore. It is a decision that is yours and yours alone.”
To a Calvinist, this would amount to a works-based salvation unless Irresistible Grace is added. The way that the Calvinist system works is that mankind is spiritually dead, and is incapable of believing in Christ, unless God does it for them, irresistibly, but then Calvinists also deny that God coerces them against their otherwise depraved will:
One Calvinist preacher declared: “You think you had a hand in your salvation!” (The Chosen Fool)
So even if we admit that we cannot save ourselves, and are in need of a savior, Jesus, to save us, we are still nonetheless our own savior, since we were wise enough to chose to turn to Him for help.
One Calvinist states: “You make faith into a work by ascribing it to your own wisdom, and by not acknowledging that it is the gift of God.”
Of course, salvation is the gift of God, as per Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 6:23, but what Calvinists really mean is that faith is the gift of God in the sense of being the irresistible gift of God, and is thus no longer a work. So that’s what it is really all about for a Calvinist. It is about Irresistible Grace, or bust.
Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
The gift is salvation:
Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The free gift is salvation, and it is through faith.
However, according to Calvinists, if it is [irresistibly] through faith, only then, is not by works. Calvinists believe that if God enables a person to have a choice, then the act of choice is still nonetheless a contribution of human effort and work. The problem for the Calvinist, again, is that the Bible doesn’t support their contention. (Personally, I think that Calvinists have a guilty conscience, due to a scandalous religion that teaches that God creates people for Hell (whether by commission, as in the doctrine of Unconditional Reprobation or by omission, as in the doctrine of Preterition, and any form of righteous indignation ultimately counteracts the guilty conscience of a Calvinist. So I think that Calvinists are searching for things like this, in order to have something to be self-righteous about.)
Calvinism is indeed a matter of salvation by Irresistible Grace FOR faith, because they are Calvinistically elect, rather than being a matter of salvation by grace THROUGH faith. What this boils down to, is that God engages in a participatory relationship with man, enabling him, and that upon faith in Christ, one then receives the deposit of the Holy Spirit:
Ephesians 1:13: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
To a Calvinist, a person is first sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit, who is then irresistibly regenerated to believe. So for the Calvinist, the verse works in the opposite way that Calvinism needs it to.
For additional discussion on this topic, see here.