Frances Ridley Havergal experienced personal revival through understanding 1John 1:7, seeing that the word “cleanseth” is in the present and continuous tense. The way of holiness opened to her and changed her life. Could you please comment on this verse, explaining how one may enter into personal revival just as she did?



Hello Philip,

Great question! First John 1:7 is a blessed verse. It says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

The condition for cleansing is to “walk in the light,” but what are the steps on this pathway? The standard attached to this walk, “as he is in the light,” begins to clarify the defining sense. You must agree with the light, with whatever the light reveals. First John 1:9 further emphasizes this truth in the word confess (to agree with or say the same thing as another). The thought is to agree with God, who is light. The phrase confess our sins takes the matter beyond a generic or general confession. It indicates an honesty regarding specific sins in our lives.

Just as light reveals dirt that needs to be cleaned, the light of God reveals that which grieves His Spirit. While He never forsakes us even when we may grieve Him, sin in our lives hinders our open fellowship with Him—not Him toward us, but us toward Him. When we agree with the light, unhindered fellowship resumes immediately. And so we have fellowship one with another. Because the blood of Jesus…cleanses us from all sin. The way of holiness is cleansing, not performance. Yet one who is cleansed is restored to life in the Spirit, accessing the life of Jesus. This is true holiness.

First John 1:7 addresses personal revival. Sin hinders, but brokenness is the way into personal revival. As we walk in the light, agreeing with the one who is light and dwells in light, the blood of Jesus cleans us up. It cleanses our conscience. We can then take by faith the reality that we have a clean heart. The cleansing opens the way for filling so we can move from walking in the light to walking in the Spirit. Together, these comprise life again—personal revival.

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