"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. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"
In Colossians 2:8, Paul warned the Colossian Church not to let anyone corrupt them or rob them of their faith and hope in Jesus Christ. The word "spoil" commonly means, to corrupt, to cause to decay and perish, as fruit is spoiled by keeping too long, or paper by wetting, or hay by a long rain, or crops by mildew. But the Greek word used here means to spoil in the sense of plunder, to rob, as when plunder is taken in war. The meaning is, "Take heed before anyone plunder or rob you of your faith and hope by philosophy." These false teachers sought to strip them of their faith and hope, like an invading army would rob and plunder a country of all that was valuable. Paul didn’t want this church to abandon the true path of Christianity by believing the myriads of lies and doctrinal "falsehoods" coming from the false teachers in this region by succumbing to these acts of "spiritual" perversion. There were 4 things the Colossian church had to be aware of. Beware of :
I. Becoming spoiled through vain life philosophy. There was a great influence of both Greek and Oriental Gnostic philosophy in the region. Many of these Greek and Oriental philosophies consisted much on speculations concerning the" nature" of the "divine existence". The danger to the Colossians was, that they would began to rely on the "deductive reasoning", rather than on what they had been taught bythe Apostle Paul and their other Christian teachers. Most opposition to Christian doctrine came from a group of religious Jews called "Judaizers", who were staunch believers in the Law of Moses and refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the Messiah.
The concern of Paul centered aroundthe fact that these false teachers who were not arguing against the existence of God, but rather they were vehemedly disputing against Jesus Christ as being the "Messiah". Not only this, but second, they were attempting to erode the whole basis of Christianity by denying the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. They sought to undermine the belief in salvation by faith in Christ and tried to lead the church back to law keeping and any other doctrines that dismissed that salvation in Jesus Christ alone was all anyone needed to be saved.
II. Becoming spoiled by vain deceit. Paul warned the church not to believe in "fallacies". Many of the religious philosophies of that day were based on "mortal speculation" rather than "divine truth". The idea was, many of the doctrines of that day were maintained by whether an idea or belief was "plausible", rather than if these doctrines were" factual" and could be proven by solid facts and sound arguments. These false doctrines or beliefs were more than likely to mislead a person away from any "divine truth" concerning God, rather than draw them closer to the "reality of God" and everything true concerning him and how God operates in the total affairs of a person’s life. Paul did not want the church to be led astray because of false teachings or vain philosophies. He wanted them to focus on the "spiritual matters" rather than the acquisition of material gain.
III. Having become deceived by the “rudiments” of men". Paul, speaks to the church from “first hand” experience, having been once deceived in his adoloscence schooling and becoming a Phrisee before his conversion experience on the Damascus Road cautioned this church about the “prevailing man made beliefs", they faced constantly, especially those that were of Greek and Hebrew origin. The Jews had become so depended on the “traditions” of men to the point that they literally fashioned their lives around them. Every one of these traditions “countermanded” the “revelations” Jesus revealed to everybody who believed in what the Pharisees and Sadducees had taught for nearly 4 centuries. These religious leaders of Jesus earthly ministry days were still teaching these “doctrinal falsehoods” and claimed that they were revelations from God. The constant attacks from the Judaizers keep an ongoing focus on the keeping of the law, yet Jesus had revealed to the masses that these religious leaders were walking in error because even though they understood the “letter” of the Law, they didn’t understand the spirit of the law.