When something is spoiled, it is stripped of the qualities which made it valuable or useful. The forgotten gallon of milk in the fridge is a good reminder that what was once a useful ingredient, has now become an intolerable stench. We are warned in Colossians 2:8 not to be spoiled through “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world.”
Being spoiled means more than just “going bad.” The word Paul uses here in his warning to the Colossians implies a robbery, a stripping, a plundering. The vain philosophies and traditions of men are like foul-breathed pirates, intent on taking everything you have. Think of a line of slaves, stripped naked, being led off to work in the sweat shops. That is the condition in which worldly philosophy will leave you. In a word, spoiled.
But a little later, Paul reminds us that Christ has “spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Col. 2:15).” A similar idea is conveyed here, but with Christ doing the spoiling; and He is spoiling the very same powers, principalities, and philosophies which aim to take you––and all you possess–– captive.
So Paul’s warning here can be summarized as do not be spoiled by those whom Christ has spoiled. Don’t be conquered by that which Christ has conquered. Don’t be fooled by that which Christ outwitted. Jesus overcame the powers that be, stripped them naked, and left them red-faced.
This is the context in which we are told to “put on the new man (Col. 3:10).” The philosophies and fads of this world want to strip you naked, and leave you in your shame. Christ wants to clothe you in Himself, and He can clothe you because He defeated and spoiled all your enemies.