Sin and death are everywhere and making a mess of the world. When Jesus comes, he will reign and create a new earth and heaven where sin and death are no more. This hasn’t happened yet. So how can we state that sin and death have been defeated when we still suffer from them both?
1 Corinthians 15:55
ESV - 55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
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As stated in the question, no one can deny that sin and death are still very much present in the world, two thousand years after Christ. But that presence reflects the raging of a defeated and desperate enemy (Satan), who knows what his ultimate and eternal fate will be at the close of the age when Christ returns (Revelation 20:10;14-15). Jesus' atoning death and (especially) His resurrection have assured the final, everlasting defeat and abolition of sin and death. (In that regard, I think of Jesus' first coming as somewhat analogous to the D-Day landings in World War II with respect to the downfall of Nazi Germany. The Germans did not just immediately lay down their arms, and several months of hard fighting and death still lay ahead, but the landing of overwhelming Allied forces in Europe meant that Germany would inevitably be defeated, however desperately it might resist.) Ever since Christ returned to heaven, all Christians have looked forward to the day of His return, and some have wondered about God's seeming delay in bringing it about. Peter himself (who had personally experienced Jesus' presence) addressed this very point in his second epistle, when he told his Christian readers (who were undergoing active persecution for their faith, and who would thus have especially longed for Christ's return), "First of all, you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.'...But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (2 Peter 3:3-4; 8-9) What may seem to be delay to us is thus really a sign of God's mercy, and of His desire that as many people as possible should hear the gospel message and be saved through it. (None of us Christians alive today would have had that opportunity for eternal life if Christ had returned at an earlier time. Christians should be using the intervening time until Christ returns (whenever that will be) to bring that same opportunity to as many people as they can.)
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