One of the most glorious ongoing works of our great Savior Jesus Christ is that He is continually cleansing His church from all of our unrighteousness and defilement by His precious blood and by the intimate work of the Holy Spirit.
Our role is to cooperate with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit.
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Corinthians 7:1
"for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:13
The Holy Spirit’s process with one person will not look the same as with someone else. But His overall work is to bring glory to Jesus, and to make us more like Him. “…..just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27
So how exactly do we cooperate with the Holy Spirit for our personal cleansing from sin?
First we must “walk in the light”. This means we must receive His conviction of sin. When He exposes sin, past or present, we must stay in His presence in prayer seeking to understand the aspects of our sin that we have not been cleansed from. “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” I John 1:7
Second we must confess any sin, trusting and depending upon the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from that sin and its roots. Sometimes a sin that has already been confessed, comes to mind. When that happens, ask the Holy Spirit why it is still in our thoughts. Often, as we mature, we will understand our earlier confessed sins in a different light. In that light, confess whatever comes to mind. For instance, a specific sin, might have been supported by the sin of lying, and lying supported by fear of punishment. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
Third we must be willing to confess our sins to others when appropriate. This practice is crucial for the power of sin over us to be broken. And as you pray with a trusted person, they may have some revelation that will help and encourage you in the process.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16
Finally, we must cry out to Him persistently and passionately as David did in Psalm 51 (see vs. 2, 7, 10) for thorough and complete cleansing from our sins and the corruption and defilement (see II Cor. 7:1) they have caused.