Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
Jerry Falwell comments: “The phrase, able to save your souls, points out the inherent efficacy of the gospel....” (Liberty Bible Commentary, p.2588)
Calvary is a provision which makes men savable.
When Calvinists preach about the all-powerful, all-consuming total depravity of man, in that he is dead, remind the Calvinists that the Gospel is alive, to the saving of your soul. (James 1:21) So although man may be spiritually dead, there is a living dynamic.
John Calvin comments: “Which is able to save. What a splendid affirmation of the heavenly message, that by it we find sure salvation. This is added that we may learn to search out this ‘treasure beyond reckoning’ (as we may say), set our hearts on it, worship it. Here is a stinging reproof of our idle thinking, to find the Word, to which we usually pay such careless heed, to be the means of our salvation; not that the power to save us is ascribed to the Word in the sense of salvation being included in the outward hearing of the utterance, or of God’s saving task being put into other hands. James speaks of the Word which penetrates, by faith, to the heart of a man, and means only that God, as Author of salvation, accomplishes this by the agency of His own Gospel.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, Matthew, Mark and Luke, Vol. III, James and Jude, p.272, emphasis mine)
In other words, Irresistible Grace is what saves; the Gospel is merely its means, vehicle and “agency.”
Calvin writes: “The minister’s teaching and speaking does no good unless God adds his inward calling to it. ... Preaching alone is just a dead letter, and we must beware lest a false imagination, or the semblance of secret illumination, leads us away from the Word on which faith depends.” (Acts: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.278, emphasis mine)
With Calvinism, it is all about Irresistible Grace, and you are seeing the impact of such a teaching upon the power of the Gospel, absent of Irresistible Grace: “a dead letter.”
Calvin explains: “Certainly the human voice cannot by its own power penetrate the soul. Too much honour would be paid to a mere mortal if it were said that he had power to regenerate us. The light of faith also is too exalted to be able to be conferred by man. But all these things do not prevent God from acting effectually by the voice of man, so as to create faith in us by his ministry.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.233, emphasis mine)
That’s a smoke-screen. Preachers do not regenerate people, as only God does that. Instead, preachers deliver God’s message, the Gospel, and when received in the heart, God regenerates people. Calvin intentionally confuses matters in order to give the impression that apart from the teaching of Irresistible Grace, people necessarily regenerate other people, which is not the case, since when people preach, and when others receive it, God regenerates. This means that the Gospel is indeed a powerful and life-saving message, which makes men savable, that is, “able to save your souls” (James 1:21), a concept of savable that is derided by Calvinists.
Calvin writes: “Preaching only finds faith in people when God inwardly calls those he has chosen and draws to Christ those who were already his own (John 6:37).” (Acts: Calvin, Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.229, emphasis mine)
“Inwardly calls” is essentially a buzz word for Irresistible Grace. So in other words, it is not of a matter of “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17), but rather that faith comes by Irresistible Grace, and Irresistible Grace by Sovereign Election.
Calvin writes: “In a word, Paul indicates that all clamorous sounding of the human voice will lack effect, unless the virtue of God works internally in the heart.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.104, emphasis mine)
Again, “works internally in the heart” is a buzz word for Irresistible Grace. The reality is that while men, with their ears, may hear “clamorous sounding of the human voice,” in their heart, they feel Jesus knocking. Notice that God said: “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11) So it’s God who is speaking, being His message, and that’s what people are feeling in their heart. So it’s not about clamorous sounding voices. Rather, it’s about people perceiving that they are receiving a message from God.
Calvin writes: “Now let Pighius asseverate that God wills all to be saved, when not even the external preaching of the doctrine, which is much inferior to the illumination of the Spirit, is made common to all.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.109, emphasis mine)
Again, “illumination of the Spirit” is a buzz word for Irresistible Grace, and thus Calvin renders the Gospel as “much inferior” to the real power of Irresistible Grace, spoken in a Calvinist’s own words.