Colossians 1:23b

Grounded, Settled, Unmovable



1. Ground covered last time…

a. Paul is talking not to a mixed multitude, but to true believers… saints… redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

b. Paul states that these former enemies of God have been reconciled in order that they might be presented before God as holy, unblameable, and unreproveable.

c. Thirdly, since Paul knows they are saved, he rightly assumes that they will CONTINUE in the faith… because that is what true believers do!
• Remember, the first class condition Paul uses here does NOT imply doubt or an IFY situation.
• It speaks of a condition which is assumed to be true… fulfilled… almost like SINCE.

2. Next in this passage, Paul deals with two participles and an adjective to help instill confidence and assurance in the Colossians:
a. Grounded…
b. Settled…
c. Not moved away…


A. Grounded.

1. Grounded Defined: from the verb: θεμελιόω (themeli-o-oh) – to lay the foundation, to found; to make stable, establish; be firm.

2. Perfect passive participle:

a. Perfect tense: past completed action with continuing results.
• The Colossians were grounded (established on a solid foundation) the moment they were saved.
• And that has CONTINUING results, namely, they are STILL grounded on that solid foundation… and will remain established there!
• The perfect implies that the work of “grounding” the believer is over… finished… once for all. He has been placed on the solid rock foundation by faith.
• He STANDS in a secure position of having been grounded.

b. Passive: the subject does not perform the action, but receives the action. The action is performed by an outside source.
• Thus, it was not the Colossians who grounded themselves and established themselves.
• Rather, it was done TO them by an outside source, namely, God.
• When they put their faith in Christ, the Lord established them firmly on the solid foundation that will enable them to continue in the faith… unshaken by the storms of life.
• The Colossians (because of their faith in Christ) have been established by God once and for all on a solid foundation and they remain established on that foundation…

3. I Cor. 3:11 – Christ is the sure foundation upon which we are laid. That is firm and secure.

a. I Cor. 3:11 – every true believer is ON the solid foundation, Christ. No other foundation will suffice.

b. I Cor. 3:12 – every true believer BUILDS upon that foundation. (wood, hay, stubble OR gold, silver, precious stones)

c. The quality of believers’ lives varies vastly.

d. But notice that their lives (that which they build upon the foundation) remain on the foundation until the Bema seat… and that occurs in HEAVEN.

e. At that point, the quality of the believers’ lives and ministries will be judged… for rewards or loss of (potential) rewards.

f. Believers continue in the faith grounded and settled… safe and secure… and are on the foundation until they arrive in heaven.

g. Works that are done in the flesh do not cause a believer to be MOVED AWAY from the foundation. But those works will be examined one day… and burnt up… yet the believer remains SAVED… so as by fire… and will continue (vs. 15).

h. Note that regardless of the quality of the building materials (one’s Christian life/ministry on earth), that believer continues until the Bema Seat.

i. He remains, even though there may not be much to show for his life. Much of what he “built” may be burnt up, but he himself remains.

j. Yet EVERY man at the Bema will receive SOME praise from God. (I Cor. 4:5)
• No believer can continue in sin indefinitely. God will intervene.
• Every believer has walked with God and obeyed God and has done SOMETHING for the Lord… has produced SOME good fruit. For if there is NO fruit at all, he was never saved.
• Matt. 13:18-23 – Believers are likened to the GOOD ground… and the good ground produces fruit… in varying quantities and in varying qualities… but there will always be SOME fruit in the life of a true believer. If the ground is good (true believer) there WILL be fruit.
• John 15:16 – Good fruit will REMAIN… until the Bema Seat and the believer who bore that fruit will be rewarded. Hence, the believer WILL continue (remain) until the Bema… along with his fruit.
• He will CONTINUE in the faith… and will CONTINUE grounded on the foundation of Christ to the very end. We are saved to the uttermost.
• The REASON the believer continued to the Bema had nothing to do with the quality of his “building materials” or his personal talents as a builder.
• It had to do solely with the quality of the FOUNDATION upon which he rested.
• A marvelous edifice built on the sand does not continue. But a little shack on the solid rock WILL continue and abide through the storms of life…

4. Eph. 2:20 – (noun form) the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ being the chief corner stone.

a. Believers in the church have been built upon the proper foundation.

b. The apostles and prophets are not the foundation, but rather they laid the foundation… through the revelation given to them by God.

c. The foundation consists of the writings of the apostles and New Testament prophets… THE TRUTH… Christ being the chief Cornerstone.

d. Everyone who is born again is part of the Body, the church. Every member of the church is ON this foundation… and is thus safe and secure on THE TRUTH.

e. The believer who is on this foundation WILL continue in and on THE FAITH and IS grounded and settled… even if he stands on that foundation his whole life, knees knocking, biting fingernails, scared to death he won’t be able to endure. If he is on the right foundation, he WILL continue in the faith.

f. But the other believer on that foundation, who KNOWS God’s Word and BELIEVES it… will not stand there knees knocking. He will rest comfortably on that foundation, KNOWING that whatever storm he may face, he WILL continue in the faith… part of the church… and on the foundation.

g. FAITH in God’s promises and the assurance that brings to the heart enables the believer to REST comfortably in His Father’s hands… or on the Solid Rock Foundation.

h. It is this assurance and confidence that enables the believer to continue…

i. “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” (Isa. 30:15)

5. II Tim. 2:19 – the foundation of God standeth sure… He KNOWS who is on that foundation and who is not. No uncertainty in God’s mind whatsoever.

a. This foundation STANDS.

b. Standeth = perfect active indicative; this foundation was laid down once and for all in the past, and remains in place to the present time.

c. The foundation that God made (either the church itself or the foundation upon which the church is built) REMAINS. It stands.

d. It stands SURE= strong, firm, immovable, solid, hard, rigid. 1a in a bad sense, stiff, stubborn, hard. 1b in a good sense, firm, steadfast.

e. The REASON for the believer continuing in the faith, grounded and settled is not found within the believer.
• Continuing in the faith is determined solely by the foundation upon which he stands.
• The foundation CONTINUES… it stood, and it remains standing, and will continue to stand… immovable… steadfastly… firm and sure.

f. This foundation is safe and secure because God’s seal is on it!
• Security doesn’t get any better than that! (A product in the market might have a good housekeeping seal of approval on it… or perhaps a ladder comes with an OSHA seal of approval.)
• Those organizations put their reputations behind that product and assure you that it is safe and that it works.
• God puts His seal on this foundation… His seal indicates the integrity of the foundation. It’s been approved by God and it works.

6. Luke 6:48 – when the floods came, this house stood, because its foundation was laid upon a rock… grounded and settled.

a. Both the noun and verb form of the word appear in this verse.

b. Foundation = noun

c. Founded = verb

d. The foundation here represents “obedience as an evidence of genuine saving faith.”
• Vs. 46 – many SAY they believe, but there is no evidence of it.
• Many will come to the Lord in that day, and SAY, “Lord, Lord, have not we done many wonderful works?” Words of faith were not a sufficient substitute for faith.
• Words or a phony profession of faith will not suffice.
• The only thing that will suffice is being grounded upon a solid foundation. (Faith in Christ—evidenced by a changed life.)

e. In other words, as believers, we are safe because of the foundation upon which we rest.

f. In this illustration, both men may build solid, well built homes.
• They may both continue for a while too…
• It is not until the trials of life come in like a flood that our faith is tested as to whether it is genuine or not.
• When the floods came, one house collapsed because it was not built on a solid foundation.
• This is similar to the illustration of the rocky ground professor. He claims faith in Christ… but when the trials come (sun comes out and begins to burn…) he is gone… proving that he had no root… nothing substantive… all is merely external and superficial.
• But when the flood beat upon the home on the solid foundation, it stood fast… it continued… grounded and settled and was not moved away.
• The house built on the sand (the false professor) was NOT grounded and settled… and DID move away… proving that his profession of faith was merely superficial and not genuine.

B. Settled

1. Defined: sitting, sedentary. 2 firm, immovable, steadfast.

2. Paul pictures the Colossians as having been established on a foundation…

3. And not just established on that foundation—but hunkered down… seated… immovable…

4. The believer is not just ON the foundation, but is seated firmly on it… settled in…


A. Not Moved Away.

1. Moved away: from the verb: μετακινέω (metakineh-oh) – to move away; be removed (and no longer exist), to be displaced; be shifted from, with an implication of force.

2. Present, passive, participle.

a. Note that the word “be” was added by the translators. It almost makes this sound like a command: Be not moved away!

b. In fact, it is not a command, but a participle.

c. This term does not tell them what to DO. Rather, it tells them what has already been DONE.
• This term continues to describe who the Colossian believers ARE. They are those who are NOT being moved away…
• This is not a command or an exhortation not to move away. The exhortation section of the epistle begins after 3:1. In this section, Paul is describing their POSITION… making it clear to the believers where they stand with God: grounded; settled; unmovable!
• There is a massive difference between commanding a believer to DO something (continue in the faith)… and from assuring him that he WILL continue in the faith.
• By stating: you are reconciled IF YOU continue… and IF YOU are not moved away… and seeing that as a command, the outcome is up to the believer… whether he “makes it” or not. That breeds uncertainty and doubt. That was NOT Paul’s purpose.
• But by stating as Paul did: Since you assuredly WILL continue in the faith and since you will NOT be moved away… this instills hope, confidence, and strengthens faith. This WAS Paul’s purpose.

d. Context: You have been reconciled to God. God reconciled you so that one day you will stand before Him holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight. I know that you will stand before Him holy and unblameable SINCE you WILL continue in the faith… SINCE you have been established by God once and for all on a solid foundation and they remain established on that foundation… and SINCE you are NOT in the process of continually being moved away from the hope of the gospel.

e. Paul is expressing his utmost CONFIDENCE in the believers at Colossae. He KNOWS they will continue… and that they will not be moved away from their hope in the gospel.

f. There is NO ongoing process of undermining those on the solid foundation… there is no outside source that is gradually and continually causing them to slip or move away.

g. That process is NOT occurring.

h. Others may be in a process of being gradually and continually moved away from the hope of the gospel. False teachers, false professors… but not the Colossians… for they are redeemed, reconciled, saints!

3. The city of Colosse was in a region that was often shaken by earthquakes.

a. They were familiar with earthquakes and their aftermaths… with buildings that collapsed because they were not built on a solid foundation…

b. Some believe Paul intended to bring this to mind as he wrote these words… that since they were saved, nothing could shake them… or move them.

c. They were on a solid foundation… and the foundation of God standeth SURE… unshakable… unmovable…

d. They had nothing to fear: (Ps. 46:1-3) = God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ? 2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst? of the sea; ? 3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.

4. What assurance is found in these two participles:

a. Grounded: perfect participle: action which was completed in the past which continues to the present. (They were grounded at conversion and remain grounded!)

b. Not moved away: present participle: action in the present which continues on into the future…

B. The Hope of the Gospel

1. The hope of the gospel = the hope that the gospel message engenders in the heart of the believer.

2. Eph. 2:12 – before we came to know Christ, we had NO such hope. We were without hope and without God. Godless = hopeless.

3. Hope: not a hope-so, but a joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation… confident expectation of eternal good… based upon truth, the promises of God’s Word, arising from the gospel.

4. This is a kind of generic statement about hope… not defining it particularly… and thus is broad enough to include MANY aspects of the believers hope in Christ that is the result of responding in faith to the gospel.

a. Col. 1:5 – the hope that is laid up for you in heaven.

b. Col. 1:27 – the hope of future glory… of which the indwelling presence of Christ is but a foretaste.

c. Col. 3:4 – the hope of appearing with Him in glory.

d. John 17:24 – the hope of being with Christ and beholding His glory!

e. Titus 2:13 – the hope of Christ’s return… and the resurrection and redemption of our bodies… that we shall be like Him…

f. I Tim. 1:1—our hope resides in a Person—the Lord Jesus Christ. He IS our hope.
• The only reason we have any hope is because of Him and because of what He provided for us on Calvary… and because of His promises in the Word: His Person, His Provision, and His Promises.
• All of our hopes for the future are attached to Him… to His work on the cross… to His resurrection and ascension… to His present High Priestly intercessory ministry…
g. John 14:1-3 – the hope of a home in heaven… finally home!
• Jesus was about to go to the cross and leave His disciples on their own… He would be leaving this world for glory.
• Jesus wanted to encourage His disciples by leaving them with bright HOPE for tomorrow…
• This is the hope that the gospel brings to the one who puts his trust in Christ.

5. What awesome words of assurance the apostles leaves with the Colossians… and with us as believers:

a. We were enemies of God, but now have been reconciled!

b. God will present all those reconciled as holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight!

c. Paul assures the saints that they WILL continue in the faith…

d. He assures us that we have a hope that is unshakable… unmovable… and we are grounded and settled on a foundation… salvation is irreversible!

6. In the first two chapters of Colossians, Paul describes their glorious position in Christ…

a. Then, when we get to chapter 3, Paul begins making exhortations to the believers concerning HOW they should live… and those exhortations are BASED upon their position in Christ. (Col. 3:1 – if ye then be risen… set your affection on things above!)

b. This is what he does in Ephesians too: 3 chapters of describing their position… and then in 4:1 he begins his exhortations BASED upon their position: therefore, walk worthy of your high calling!

c. This is what he does in Romans too: 11 chapters of doctrine and explaining their position as justified by faith… and then… based on that truth… he begins his section of exhortations: I beseech you THEREFORE, by the mercies of God, present your body a living sacrifice…

d. Before good fruit will be borne, God wants us to KNOW about our glorious position in Christ… when that truth sinks in, we will be able to REST in that position… ABIDE in that position… hunker down, grounded and settled… as a branch abides in its position in the Vine… and from that position FRUIT is borne… LIFE is manifested… Christ is exalted…

e. When it finally sinks in just how FINISHED the finished work of Christ on the cross really is… and how utterly SAFE we are in Him… then we will have the faith to REST in Him…

f. And from that heavenly position, we are thus able to WALK in newness of life… to walk worthy of our high calling in Christ… and to SEEK those things which are above.

g. But ever follow Paul’s inspired pattern: FIRST comes an acknowledgement of and a resting in our position, and THEN comes a worthy walk.

h. Every branch abiding in Christ (our position in Christ in heavenly places) beareth fruit.

IF YOU ARE NOT SAVED: Before you can continue in the faith, you must BEGIN in the faith. Trust Christ as your Savior today. Trusting in anything else (religion; works; lifestyle; etc.) is sinking sand… and will not endure the judgment of God.

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