The Creed of Chalcedon
…and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation
The New Testament is constantly referring to the days in which we live as being “the latter [or last] days” (cf. Hebrews 1:2). It does this because the Incarnation of the Son, his life, death, and resurrection are the fulfillment of all history—the very reason and purpose for the creation of the world. His coming is called, “the fullness of time,” (Galatians 4:4) meaning the appointed time, the time God had chosen from the foundation of the world to send His Son for the redemption of the world. The coming of the Son was what the world was waiting for whether it knew it or not (John 1:9-11; Romans 8:22). Indeed, our Lord’s coming changed the calendar. We cannot speak of the time before his coming and the time after his coming as one and the same. They are not the same. We live in that wonderful time known as anno domini—“in the year of the Lord”—or we might say, in the era of salvation.
It is truly hard to compare the times before and after the cross. I would only recommend to you Herodotus’ History, ancient Greek historian, to see how corrupt and wicked the world was before our Lord’s coming and the subsequent birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). I agree that there is plenty of sin and degradation in our own world—indeed, increasing as we speak—but there is still no comparison. The preaching of the gospel and spread of the Church has brought compassion, humanity, and civilization to places where none existed. Suffice it to say that these are the days when one might enter the Kingdom and live for the One for whom he or she was created and as such touch the world for good.
And why did he come? For us and for our salvation. This is what is stated clearly in the ancient Creeds: Apostles, Nicene, and Chalcedon. We are the reason why the Father sent the Son, for God so loved the world (John 3:16). And it is this message that has transformed the world, that shall one day deliver it from its bondage to decay. One day, heaven and earth, the Church and the world, shall be united, for the world shall be the Church when our Lord returns, for all that shall be shall be the Church in that eternal Kingdom. Then shall time pass away, and anno domini take on a whole new meaning. This is what the Christian longs for. The time, the latter days, in which we live is simply a foretaste of that Kingdom, that age to come, that glory divine, of which the Holy Spirit is our guarantee. We’ve nothing left but to be witnesses for him in these closing days while we watch and wait, for our redemption draweth nigh. Latter days, indeed.