…if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:23—NKJV)

A very well-known American financial institution uses the image of the Rock of Gibraltar to symbolize their rock-solid durability and unmoving dependability. Who would not get the feeling of permanence from seeing an image of such a famous rock?

Several decades ago, if I am not mistaken, the company was advertising the real estate portion of their business on television. The image that I recall at the end of the commercial was of the Rock of Gibraltar moving through a neighborhood of houses. I guess the reason it stuck in my memory was that that “Rock” is not supposed to move. I had to ask myself, “Why did they do that?”

In a similar confusion of image and message, the popular concept of faith is like a rock which moves. Faith is thought to be a conviction which is suppositious and superstitious. It is assumed that faith can be anything but certainly not bedrock. To use a different illustration, it can fairly be said that biblical faith appears to the unbeliever as a blind leap into darkness wearing a parachute made of nothing but hopeful, good thoughts—hardly a concept that inspires rock-solid durability and unmoving dependability. The unbelievable image of a moving Rock of Gibraltar seems to capture this common, though insensible review of biblical faith.

The Greek root word for “move” found in our verse is the word kineo. Kineo is itself the combination of “to go” and “to move.” Our words kinetic and cinema come from this word. The word is used in the book of Acts to describe the agitating, stirring, and moving of a crowd from a state of dull inaction to the commotion of action.

Paul intensifies the word by adding a prefix. Metakineo means “change of place or condition, to move away, to remove.” He also employs the middle voice which means “to remove oneself, to shift.” It is a thing done to oneself. In this passage the shifting heart is a mirage and untrue while the “hope of the gospel” remains unmovable and rock-solid.

The hope Paul alludes to is the rock-like character of God and His Nature. Isaiah 54:10 uses a parallel Hebrew word when he says, “’For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord who has mercy on you.” Such reassuring words from the “God who cannot lie” (Hebrews 6:18) inspire confidence, durability, permanence and trust. This is the substance and chemical make-up of rock-like faith.

This is the same faith ascribed to Abraham in Romans 4:20–22, “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

Anyone’s lack of persevering in the faith is indicative that rock-solid saving faith never took root in the heart. Hebrews 13:8–9 reads, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established (made stable and sure) by grace….” Rock-solid saving faith operates in the heart of the authentic believer so that he is “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

What is the state of your “faith?” Is it built upon the rock-solid promises of God in His Word—sounder than the Rock of Gibraltar—or is your “faith” a chimerical mirage vanishing when crowded by adversity—proving neither the permanence nor the reliability of your faith? Call upon God and ask that He establish your heart by grace. Trust and obey.