The Faithful Tested

The Christian Mark of the Beast Survival Manual Copyright © 2014 by Erik K. Olinger All rights reserved.

READERS: This is a rough-draft of the manuscript.  It is unedited and contains errors that will be corrected at the final release.


The Faithful Tested

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (NIV Jas. 1:2-4).

One’s faith will be tested. The Lord is actively gathering people to His throne, and they will undergo purification. The test is not brief, nor a breeze. Many will apostatize from their faith, even following other gods. There are other so-called gods, but Christians worship the One God and Creator.


…as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords…” (NIV 1Co. 8:5).


The benefit of choosing Jesus Christ to be one’s Lord and Savior is that one will inherit eternal life and salvation, whereas the other “lords” do not have access to the Father, nor lead to eternal life. God’s wisdom and understanding will help a person in the hour of trial,


You will go your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble (NIV Pr. 3:23).

This is a free gift from God for everyone who responds to their calling. The adversary, the devil, will ceaselessly attempt to hinder the people of God.


The Origin of Evil


Readers of this manual will be at different levels of Bible proficiency. Recognizing the general history of the major events, and the key-players in the Bible, will get any initiate on-track. Throughout the manual events and key-players will be revealed. Public enemy number one is the devil, Lucifer, who was renamed to “Satan” by God sometime after “he was hurled to earth” from heaven, he “and his angels with him” (NIV Rev. 12:9). Satan’s first doing was to deceive Eve (1Ti. 2:14), who was joined in sin by Adam. Sin came to mankind and was introduced to the world (Ro. 5:12), which corrupted humankind. Adam and Eve broke their covenant with God, and when they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Ge. 2:16-17; Hos. 6:7), “the eyes of both of them were opened” (NIV Ge. 3:7). Satan had caused the Fall of Man, and that foray spurred God to decree that the serpent would be cursed (Ge. 3:14), forever crawling on it’s belly. From that point forward the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman (Eve) would engage one-another with hostility,


And I will put enmity between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel (NIV Ge. 3:15).


The serpent symbolically strikes the heal of God’s people, which is the reason the testing of one’s faith can be eminently painful. Christ typified this conflict when He was struck on the heel on the cross. The confidence a believer will have is that the offspring or seed that is promised as salvation from the Edenic Covenant that was broken, would arrive and provide redemption. He would crush the serpent’s head. This promise is Christ (Gal. 3:19; Col. 2:13-15; 1Jn. 3:8).


The Quality of our Work Tested


This life is about trial and not exaltation. Humility is one of the first lessons one will undergo during trial. A trial, of course, is a time when a person may look, seem, and feel at one’s lowest, but only at first. No one should expect glorification without suffering, but even before a trial is over, one will feel established. It is possible to obtain a gift of eternal blessedness, but only after giving oneself to Christ as an offering. In order to be glorified with Jesus Christ, we must acknowledge Him before men that He is the Christ and our Lord (Mt. 10:32-33), we must suffer with Him (Rev. 8:16-17), and we must be crucified with Him (Gal. 5:24). We must build a spiritual home with Christ as our foundation, but it should be built well,


But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames (NIV 1Co. 3:10-15).


What Is Our Work?


One is responsible for the work that is put in. This work is not a nine a.m. to five p.m. job, nor a body’s physical exercise. In the book of John, Jesus said, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (NIV Jn. 6:27). His disciples asked, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” (NIV Jn. 6:28). Jesus told the disciples what work they could do by answering, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (NIV Jn. 6:29). This work is the spiritual renewing of the mind to conformity in belief and imitation of Christ,


Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will ishis good, pleasing and perfect will (NIV Ro. 12:2).

Make every thought captive to the Lord Jesus (NIV 2Co. 10:5).


The Battlefield of the Mind and the Living Stone


The battlefield is the mind and will, and the fight is against the ways of the world. Have faith in that Jesus overcame the world its ways (Jn. 16:33), and that the living Stone will uphold His faithful people,


As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builder’s rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (NIV 1Pe. 2:4-9).


Stumbling and Purification


The Bible indicates that some will stumble to be “refined, purified and made spotless” (NIV Da. 11:35— see 12:10), which should give comfort that the outcome of a painful trial and hopeless situation will be purification from darkness. God truly does refine His people for the better in the midst of adversity,


See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction (NIV Isa. 48:10).


Think of a spiritual test as a refinement in fire, hence the comparison above to the refinement of silver. Instead of flames, it is affliction that refines us. The flames that test us, however, are not all the same, and every person truly is tested in various degrees.


Persecution and Suffering


The downside of the refinement of one’s faith by fire is that it cannot be without suffering for one’s belief and persecution. This is not God’s design, nor what He desires for anyone. The saints will learn to overcome their suffering,


Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (NIV Ro. 5:3-5).


Anyone who pursues holiness will be persecuted and suffer to some degree,


In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (NIV 2Ti. 3:12-13).

When we come under trial, we may have the tendency to blame God for our suffering. God does not seek to destroy us to make us holy. The trial that we are under is for the greater good and for the glory of God to be revealed, but is as real and as harsh as the world and it’s evils can deliver,


I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (NIV Ro. 8:18).


God’s Provision


Are we alone during a test? It may feel like it at times, but God certainly does help those who are under trial succeed despite their sufferings and the world. For example, the Israelites were led forty years in the wilderness so that God could humble them, know what was in their hearts, and whether they would keep His commands or not (Dt. 8:2), but they still had to spend forty years looking for the Promised Land. God did not expect them to survive on their own without His proper instruction and protection. The Israelites were fed, given commandments that were to lead to holy living and righteousness, and their clothing did not wear out and their feet did not swell during their forty years in the wilderness (Dt. 8:4). God is sure to provide adequate instruction and provision to those undergoing trial so that they may stand through it. Another example illustrating trial and provision is the Old Testament account of a man named Gideon, who was chosen by God to defeat the Midianites and Amalekites. God told Gideon exactly what to do to defeat the Amalekites. Gideon probably doubted his ability to do what God instructed him to do, and he asked for three different signs from God (Jdg. 6:17, 6:36-40). God gave him these signs. Although God may not always provide precise instructions through angels today, nor any sign for us today (Mk. 8:12; Lk. 11:29), we have instructions from God written in the Bible and upon our hearts and minds (discussed in later chapters).


Why a Test?


God tests everyone to examine their heart and mind (Dt. 8:2, 13:3l; 2Ch. 32:31; Pr. 17:3; Jer. 17:10). This to know if we will obey His commands (Ex. 16:4; Dt. 8:2; Jdg. 3:4), and whether we are obedient or not (2Co. 2:9). The testing of one’s faith produces character and righteousness. God is the gardener, and he prunes as He see’s fit. This trial causes growth, and faith should increase. A test is in our best interest, as well. The settling in of the wrong lifestyle and path will be undone. One will not neglect one’s responsibility, and one will turn to God for guidance. The goal is to train for appropriate communion with God, so that it may last forever.


Nothing Unreasonable


God will not expect anyone to do anything unreasonable to justify oneself before Him. He only desires one to be obedient, believing in Him. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham listened to God’s instructions and nearly sacrificed his son for God before God stopped Abraham (Ge. 22). God even blessed all of Abraham’s descendants through his son Isaac, whom God did not allow to be sacrificed.


What Does Faith Allow?


Jesus taught that with faith, a person can do anything,


Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you (NIV Mt. 17:20).

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer (NIV Mt. 21:22).


Faith Dependent on Christ


Faith empowers a person to do anything and achieve anything, however faith is dependent on Christ, or it will not work. We must believe that Christ gave the power to do anything, and we must use it only to do good, although faith is for every aspect of life. Faith is demonstrated by believing in Christ and His instructions. It is not always a dramatic outwardly visible supernatural power. For instance, if one were to use faith as one’s shield and protection (Eph. 6:16), one may not even notice that one had been protected from something, because that something did not reach one’s attention in fruition due to one’s faith and shield stopping whatever it was. We must believe that our faith is working well. If we are unsure of anything concerning our salvation while in warfare, we should always have faith that because we believe on Jesus, we are saved. Occasional sin does not impede our standing before God, so long as we believe and are continually repenting. We have Jesus as our perfect atonement for our sin (1Jn. 2:1-2), and faith is for all who believe.


God’s Standards


God does not use the same standards as the world does. When He chooses someone, He selects those who may be rejected by the standards of the world, although He tests everyone and invites many to Him (Mt. 22:14). The despised and weak and foolish people of the world are chosen to shame the wise and strong. Christianity is incongruous to the ways of the world,


Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him (NIV 1Co. 1:26-29).


Everyone Tested Differently


The trial that all come under is not the same proportion nor of equal intensity. For one person, the test may be many minor lessons. For another, a decade to lifetime ordeal in which every facet comes under-fire and is turned upside-down. A person may not even recognize that God has been observing him or her. There is however, a distinctive lengthy refinement that cannot be mistaken for an everyday trial. This test may seem hopeless. That is because this test is the thorny path of salvation and righteousness, and the world is opposed to the saints,


You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved (NIV Mt. 10:22).


This lengthy trial is to reveal the chosen and elect, however it must absolutely be emphasized that not all elect and chosen foreknown saints will know they are elect at first. The Bible also reveals that those who do not see or perceive, can be righteous (Mt. 13:16-17). God does foreknow diverse people and predestine them to be conformed,


For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified (NIV Ro. 8:29-30).


Even some enduring lengthy trial are not foreknown by God, and can be separated and pruned-off. One need always proceed in the Lord’s kindness (Ro. 11:22), offering Him praise and spiritual sacrifice. Turning to a reference to refinement in the book of Jeremiah, the wicked are given the opportunity to be purified, yet sometimes it is in vain,

The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out.



Christian Hope


Paul expressed best the Christian dilemma on earth. We may not have friends, family, possessions, or a home on earth, but we endure it and live on. A Christian will yet feel blessed and lacking nothing, despite having nothing. We always keep our hope,


To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment (NIV 1Co. 4:11-13).

…as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way; in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beating, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as imposters; known yet regarded as unknown; dying and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything (NIV 2Co. 6:4-10).


The Crown of Life


Having stood the test, what can we be certain we will receive? We will become permanent sons and daughters of Christ, and we will receive life forever (please see the chapter, The Faithful Rewarded),


Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (NIV Jas. 1:12).


Biblical Examples of Trial and Faith


To provide a few biblical examples of God giving instructions that were followed by faith, or biblical people tested for their faith, please consult this concise list:


  • Eve tempted by Satan (Ge. 3:1-7).
  • Adam tempted by Eve (Ge. 3:6-7).
  • Noah in building the ark (Ge. 6:14-22; Heb. 11:7).
  • Abraham when told to leave his native land (Ge. 12:1-4; Heb. 11:8), and to sacrifice his son Isaac (Ge. 22:1-19; Heb. 11:17-19).
  • Abraham and Sarah were tested in believing that they would have a child of their own late in life (Ge. 17:16-19).
  • Joseph was under trial in a different land, but obeyed the Lord (Ge. 37:12-36, 39:1-23, 41:1-45, 46-57, 45:1-15, 47:13-31, 48:1-22).
  • Moses in talking to Pharaoh (Ex. 3:11-12; 4:10-17), and when crossing the Red Sea (Ex. 14:15; Heb. 11:29).
  • Israel in the wilderness (Dt. 8:2), and to see if they would follow God’s instructions about gathering manna and the Sabbath (Ex. 16:4).
  • Joshua and Israel in circling Jericho at God’s command to take the city (Jos. 6; Heb. 11:30).
  • Gideon in delivering Israel from the Midianites, Amalekites, and eastern people (Jdg. 6:36-40; Heb. 11:32).
  • David by faith came to the Philistine named Goliath in the Lord’s name and defeated Him (1Sa. 17:45-51; Heb. 11:32-34).
  • Ezra left Babylon without military support by faith (Ezr. 8:22).
  • Job was tested in affliction (Job 1-2).
  • Three Jewish men would not worship Nebuchadnezzar’s gold image, by faith (Da. 3:8-30; Heb. 11:32-34).
  • Daniel by faith defied the king’s decree to not pray to any god (Da. 6:4-23; Heb. 11:32-33).
  • Jonah ran from the Lord and was tested, even being swallowed by an oversized fish (Jnh. 1-4).
  • Mary had faith that she would conceive a child as God told her through an angel (Mt. 1:18; Lk. 1:26-56).
  • Joseph was tested to believe that Mary had remained a virgin (Mt. 1:18-25).
  • Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness (Mt. 4:1-11; Mk. 1:9-12; Lk. 4:1-13).
  • The disciples’ faith was tested at sea (Mt. 8:23-27; Mk. 4:36-41; Lk. 8:22-26), about who Jesus was (Mt. 16:15-20; Lk. 9:20-21), and by using Christ’s authority to cast out an evil spirit (Mt. 17:14-21; Mk. 9:14-29; Lk. 9:37-42).
  • Philip was tested by Jesus as to the feeding of the five-thousand (Jn. 6:5-6).
  • Peter was tested whether he loved Jesus, after his denial of knowing Christ (Jn. 21:15-17).


Chapter Summary

  1. The Lord administers a test of one’s faith.

  2. The benefit of choosing Jesus is that one can inherit eternal life.

  3. Satan and his angels were hurled to earth.

  4. Satan deceived Eve and mankind fell.

  5. There is hostility between the offspring of Eve and the serpent.

  6. Christ will provide redemption from the Fall of Man, completely crushing the “head” of Satan.

  7. The quality of our spiritual work is tested.

  8. Our work is to believe on Christ.

  9. The one who trusts in the living Stone, Christ, will never be put to shame.

  10. Some will stumble to be refined and purified in the midst of affliction.

  11. Persecution and suffering go hand-in-hand with trial, but produces godly attributes.

  12. God provides adequate instruction and provision for those under trial.

  13. God tests everyone to:

a. Examine their heart and mind.

b. To know if they will obey His commands.

c. To know if they are obedient.

  1. God does not expect us to do anything unreasonable to justify ourselves before Him.

  2. With faith, a person can do anything.

  3. Faith is dependent on Christ.

  4. Because we believe on Jesus, we are saved.

  5. God’s standards for whom he calls to Him are not the world’s standards.

  6. People are tested differently.

  7. The world will hate the saints, but the one who stands firm in Christ will be saved.

  8. Those who do not see or perceive can even be considered righteous.

  9. The elect are foreknown by God, however not all who are tested are elect, and they can be cut-off.

  10. A Christian will lack nothing despite having nothing.

  11. Having stood the test, one will receive the crown of life.