And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
John Calvin comments: “He proves, however, from its effect that it was the word of God which he had delivered to them, since it had produced the fruit of heavenly doctrine, commended by the prophets, in the renewing of their life. Human doctrine could not achieve any such thing. The relative pronoun may be taken as applying either to God or to His word. However we choose, the meaning will be the same, for since the Thessalonians felt within themselves a divine power which came from faith, they could rest assured that what they had heard was not the passing sound of the human voice, but the living and efficacious doctrine of God.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.347, emphasis mine)
Summarizing Calvin: “…the word of God…produced the fruit…renewing…their life… Thessalonians felt within themselves a divine power which came from faith….”
That sounds a whole lot like Romans 10:17: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Spiritual life begins with the word of God. It’s life-giving. Jesus stated: “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63) Jesus also stated: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3) Anyone with ears can hear. Therefore anyone, indiscriminately, can draw faith from it. The only thing that stands in the way of faith being drawn from God’s word is a hard heart. And God warns: “Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” (Psalm 95:8, KJV)
Furthermore, it’s only after a person believes that he receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and not before, as Calvinism requires. Calvinism states that you must receive the Holy Spirit first, that is, the Spirit of Regeneration, and thus being made born again first in order to possess the necessary spiritual life that alone gives rise to faith.
John Calvin writes: “We have to understand Christ’s aim -- that not many people believe the Gospel, because faith comes only from the sacred revelation of the Spirit.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.176, emphasis mine)
Calvinism’s Order of Operations are: 1) receiving the Holy Spirit, 2) faith via spiritual life, and 3) hearing God’s word. Yet, what does the Bible present as the Order of Operations:
Ephesians 1:13: “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.”
Galatians 3:2: “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”