This is an excerpt from The Fruit of the Spirit, Part 1 by Brian Borgman:
The Fruit (of the Spirit), has its root in God’s Character. That leads me to believe, that ultimately, what God is doing in redemption is He is restoring and then fulfilling the original commission that He gave to Adam, that commission that Adam failed to accomplish.
So, if, in the age to come, the abundance of the Spirit is manifest by conforming us more and more to the image of God, why is that part of the future age? Well, it’s because when God created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden, God actually gave them this mandate which was to be fruitful, to multiply and fill the earth. So, as image bearers, Adam and Eve were supposed to image God in the creation. When we think of the image of God we think of something that is almost exclusively intrinsic, or internal to us; what I am as a human being. That is part of it, but there is a sense in which the image of God is a functional reality so that God actually created Adam and Eve and all of their posterity to image Him throughout the whole earth so that the whole earth would be filled with His Glory. Adam and Eve, of course, didn’t do that. They fell into sin. They marred the image of God. Therefore they didn’t image God in the creation. They imaged sin, self, and Satan far more than they imaged God.
So, what is happening? God actually promises that He is going to take this fallen humanity that was supposed to image Him and He is going to restore them so that they end up doing what they were originally supposed to do.
There is one glorious piece that is now so clearly expressed in the New Testament and that is, that the second Adam is Jesus Christ. He came into this world and imaged God perfectly because He is the image of the invisible God. Jesus could say, “When you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” (John 14:9). So, those whom He Foreknew, He predestined, and those He predestined, he predestined to do what? To be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God is taking this rag-tag collection of fallen human beings who follow sin and self and who are filled with filth and their own idols and He is saying, “I’m taking a people for myself.” That original purpose for which He created us will not be thwarted. It will not be thwarted because He will accomplish His purpose. He is going to accomplish His purpose because He sent His Son to redeem us and then sent His Spirit to conform us to the image in which we were originally created so that we can do what we were supposed to do.
What is happening is that God is doing the ultimate Adamic urban renewal project!
So, right now, in this “all-ready, not yet” tension, what’s happening is that we are being increasingly, progressively, conformed to the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit. When the consummation of all things happens, what will occur will be our perfect conformity to the image of Christ. The whole cosmos will be reconciled to the Father, and the whole New Heavens and New Earth will be filled with image bearers that glorify and reflect the glory of the Creator.
For Paul to talk about the fruit of the Spirit is no small thing. The Fruit of the Spirit has cosmic implications because God is renewing His character, Christ’s image, in us.