You must not fancy, then, that God sits helplessly by while the world, which He has created for Himself, hurtles hopelessly to destruction and He is able only to snatch, with difficulty, here and there, a brand from the universal burning. The world does not govern Him in a single one of its acts – He governs it and leads it steadily onward to the end which, from the beginning or ever a beam of it had been laid, He had determined for it. As it was created for His glory, so shall it show forth His praise – and this human race, on which He has impressed His image, shall reflect that image in the beauty of the holiness which is its supreme trait. The elect – they are not the residuum of the great conflagration, the ashes, so to speak, of the burned-up world gathered sadly together by the Creator after the catastrophe is over, that He may make a new and, perhaps, better beginning with them and build from them, perchance, a new structure to replace that which has been lost. Nay, they are, themselves, “the world,” not the world as it is in its sin, lying in the evil one, but the world in its promise and potency of renewed life. Through all the years, one increasing purpose runs, one increasing purpose: the kingdoms of the earth become ever more and more the kingdom of our God and His Christ. The process may be slow, the progress may appear, to our impatient eyes, to lag. But it is God who is building and, under His hands, the structure rises as steadily as it does slowly and, in due time, the capstone shall be set into its place and, to our astonished eyes, shall be revealed nothing less than a saved world.
From: “God’s Immeasurable Love” (John 3.16), in The Savior of the World: Sermons Preached in the Chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary by Benjamin B. Warfield (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), pp. 124-125.