“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
The believer is warned not to allow any man to “spoil you.” To be spoiled means several things. It means to be damaged. God says that you must be careful about those things which would damage your testimony as a believer. To be spoiled means to go bad or sour. In other words, just like food can go bad or milk can sour, so the believer can be soured or go bad because of the things God warns the believer about in the verse above.
Now it is interesting that it is associations that will spoil you and your faith. The verse above says, “Beware lest any man spoil you…” God knows that it is always an association that ruins people. I have seen many good people get one bad association and have their testimony or faith ruined or spoiled. You always have to beware of any person who might spoil you from being who God wants you to be.
Throughout my life, and especially now that I am a pastor, I have watched many people who were doing so good to be damaged or go sour on what they used to embrace because of an association they acquired. People don’t just throw away their good heritage because they were suddenly enlightened about how terrible those in their heritage are, but they threw away their heritage because they allowed some individual to feed them deceit which spoiled their trust in those who handed them their heritage. God says there are four things that these people use to spoil your heritage.
First, they use man’s philosophy. In other words, associating with someone who doesn’t hold the same viewpoint concerning the Scriptures will spoil what you believed about your heritage and faith. Watch out for people who feed you “deep” truth that you have never heard before. If something is so deep that you have never heard it from those in the past, it is so deep because it probably came from the pits of Hell.
Second, these people use self-promoting lies to spoil your faith. In other words, they fill you with “self-hype” lies that lead to selfish living. Watch out for anyone who only tells you how you are always right and never will call you out when you do wrong. The “vain deceit” that many false preachers preach will only lead to self-destruction in the future. You must remember that the believer is commanded to crucify the flesh and not feed the flesh.
Third, these people use man’s traditions to spoil your faith and testimony. Just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean that it makes it right. Just because every church quits soul winning doesn’t mean you should quit soul winning. Just because others establish traditions that take you away from the old paths doesn’t mean that you should follow man’s traditions. The fact that it is man’s traditions should tell you that it is recent and not based on God’s Word.
Fourth, these people use worldliness to spoil your faith and testimony. Worldliness always spoils your taste for the things of God. So many people leave what they used to embrace because they have filled themselves with the world, which changed their taste for the ways of God. Worldliness will always spoil your taste for the ways of God; beware of it.