Can a Christian be “spoiled”?

by Sandy Simpson, 3/20/19


Col. 2:8 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. (KJV)


(1)    How is fresh food “spoiled”?  Food that is spoiled is no longer useful but is thrown out.  It cannot be eaten as it could poison someone with harmful microorganisms, specifically bacteria, molds, and yeasts, that can cause food to spoil. For example, microorganisms that break down fats in unsalted butter can cause it to become rancid. Bacteria that break down protein in meat (proteolytic bacteria) results in foul odors. Salt was used as a preservative before refrigeration and is still added to food to improve taste and help them last longer.  The Bible talks about how Christians are to be “light and salt” in the world (Matt. 5:13-16).  


(2)    A child who is disobedient to parents and allowed to do whatever they please used to be called a “spoiled brat”.  They are not helpful but have become a nuisance and a disappointment. A parent can spoil a child by giving them everything they demand and allowing them to do whatever they want instead of teaching them through encouragement and discipline (Prov. 22:6, 23:13, Eph. 6:4). 


(3)    A conquered city was said to be spoiled when they proceeded to tear down its walls and raze it to the ground. It becomes uninhabitable. Cities that have been spoiled are no longer lived in.


(4)    You can spoil someone’s plans by introducing elements they have not planned for or do not want. 


(5)    You’ve heard the saying “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch”.  Putting a rotten piece of fruit next to good fruit will make the good fruit spoil quickly and become inedible.


(6)    Getting a liberal, postmodern education at many universities today can spoil the worldview of a person. 


All of the above are examples of spoilage.  But can a Christian be “spoiled”?  Either you believe what the Bible says or you ignore it in favor of human philosophies. Hyper-Calvinists would say a Christian cannot be spoiled because God will not allow it.  But we see in this example from the Bible, and many more, that is clear that a Christian can be spoiled by “philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). I have written on this subject before in an article entitled “The Marks Of False Religion” here: True believers allow the Bible to shape their belief system, not the vain empty philosophies and traditions of men and the world.  But people fall into deception so quickly when that deception appeals to them.  The problem comes when that stuff lingers and finally spoils the faith of a believer.  Let’s take a cue from the examples of spoilage given above.


(1)    Spoiled food.  People generally don’t eat spoiled food unless it is something to which a safe culture has been introduced such as cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, etc.  Spoiled food can be bad for a person’s health and, at the very least, cause diarrhea and an upset stomach.  At most, it can kill as in some cases of E. coli, salmonella, etc.  As Christians, our witness can be nullified by a change in our worldview and belief system, such as the introduction of Word of Faith teachings, New Age practices, teaching that deny one or more of the core doctrines, etc.  People who call themselves followers of Christ yet are spoiled by false doctrine and the attractions of the world are of no use in the spiritual Kingdom of God. If they do not continue in the faith the Lord has said he will spit them out of His mouth (Rev. 3:16).  This is because they are no longer good for anyone’s health, including their own.


(2)    Spoiled child.  Like a spoiled child, the “Kings Kids” of today think they are entitled to be children of God, even “little gods”.  They order God around and expect Him to give them everything they want, not just what they need.  They become what I have termed “Glitter Christians” ( acting like Christians are an entitled class of people who are more spiritual and “anointed” than the common man, even other Christians.  They think they have become appealing to unbelievers, when in fact they don’t realize they are viewed with disgust and contempt. 


(3)    Spoiled city. A city that has been conquered and ransacked by an enemy has been “despoiled”.  That city has been plundered, pillaged, robbed, ravaged, raided, ransacked, and looted.  There are Christians who go on with their lives when it is apparent, particularly by the discerning, that the enemy has spoiled them.  They are devoid of anything of benefit, to the fellow believer, the unbeliever and most importantly to the Lord.


(4)    Spoiled plans.  The enemy loves to spoil the plans of God if he is allowed.  I have seen many Christians who have great potential but because they do not allow the Lord to lead have left the enemy a foothold (Eph. 4:27) in their lives to spoil them. It is sad to watch other believers, and in particular, our children allow the enemy room to spoil them.  The fact is they will never see the plans of God unfold in their lives while believing that they are “ok with God”. 


(5)    Spoiled fruit.  This is an important point. 


1 Cor. 15:33 “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 


Jehoshaphat joined with the evil Ahab to defeat his enemies and was almost killed.  Hanging around heretics, false prophets, false apostles and cultists can kill.  It is directly analogous to spoiled fruit being introduced alongside good fruit.  When Christians start watching false teachers on TV, for instance, it isn’t long before they pick up false teachings and introduce them into their own belief system.  The grace of God through Jesus Christ saves us through our faith.  If our belief system becomes corrupted, what use is it? 


1 Cor. 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.


Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  The enemy knows if He can corrupt our belief system he has won the battle.


(6)    Spoiled worldview.  This is the one that has the largest effect, especially among the youth.  They learn ungodly false myths at public school and it is virtually impossible for parents to address the many things they are being mistaught.  These things change their worldview from a Biblical one to a worldly postmodern paradigm.  Before long they have become fully integrated into the Zeitgeist of today and are at odds with true believers and their own parents, if their parents are true beleievers.  This is why there is so much family strife today, and why there are so few true believers among the young.


There are many who profess to be Christians today who are actually spoiled and trying to hide that fact.  But you will know them by their fruit.


2 Tim. 3:1-7 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.