Steps to Peace with God – Billy Graham Evangelistic Tract
My husband and I have been on the New Member Counselor team with our church for the last ten years. We were trained on how to witness to unbelievers and to ‘lead them to Christ’ using this Evangelistic tract. Many people are confused on what this means and how does saying a single prayer assure one of Salvation and eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
Many don’t know this but a man named Charlie Riggs, in a 1954 London Crusade, developed these four steps andttitled them ‘Steps to Peace with God’. Since then, many versions of this have been used and in various forms, in dozens of languages and shared with millions.
In the 1950’s the message most heard from the pulpit was teaching Hell, Fire and Damnation and Riggs felt led to present the Gospel from a different perspective. He had heard Billy Graham preach about peace and life and how to have that peace was to accept Jesus. He took the message and made it into four steps.
This tract can easily be carried in a woman’s purse or a man’s wallet or pocket to have readily available to refer to when a conversation arises to walk through the steps with someone. You can also leave it with the person for them to refer to later.
My goal in this blog is to explain the tract and the pieces of it and then to explain what should follow the prayer.
1) God’s Plan – Peace and Life
First we explain that God loves you and wants yo to experience His peace and life, abundant and eternal. People need to know that God loves them and He has a real plan for their lives. Many believe they are born to live and die without purpose.
Only God can give this peace to you. He does this when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you believe in Heaven and Hell?
There are several scriptures which validate this in the tract and we usually read one of them to the individual. For example: John 3:16 says ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’.
2) Our Problem – Separation From God
Being at peace with God is not automatic, because by nature you are separated from God. God made mankind and equipped us with the ability to choose. With those choices come consequences. Adam, as the first representative of the human race, chose to sin. Sin entered the world and at that time Death entered the world. As soon as sin entered the world, man was separated from God. The entire human rice went from innocent or sinful in that moment.
Romans 3:23, NIV says ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.‘ Romans 6:23, NIV says ‘The wages of sin is death [separation], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We can choose to stay separated from God or choose abundant life with Him. Many in this world today see the separation and choose to deal with the problem on their own. They believe that by being good, moral, upstanding that they can make it to Heaven on their own.
The Bible says in Proverbs 14:12, NIV ‘There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death.’
3) God’s remedy – The Cross
God’s love bridges the gap of separation between God and you. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins.
The Bible says ‘He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.’ 1 Peter 2:24, NASB
He nailed our sins to the Cross. In that day and still today there is an act of ‘cancelling debt’. When someone’s debt was cancelled the document which created the debt was stamped ‘Paid in Full’. THis is true today if you pay off your home mortgage or another note you may receive the original copy back stamped ‘Paid in Full.’ The debt is then cancelled.
In Colossians 2:14, NASB, it says ‘having canceled out the certificiate of deby consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.’
Our debt has been paid once and for all!
4) Our Response – to Receive Christ
You cross the bridge into God’s family when you receive Christ by personal invitation. This is not an invitation from Man. This is not the person who is talking with you bringing you to your salvation. This is the Holy Spirit speaking to you and Jesus calling you to come to Him. He is calling you to make Him the Lord of your life. To give your life to Him. To make Him the Center of your life.
To receive Christ as your Savior:
If you understand the Bible message as discussed in Steps to Peace with God, then you pray a prayer which includes these four main pieces. The words can and should be your own. If you don’t know how to word it, there is a sample prayer in the Tract.
You must ADMIT that you are a sinner. (Confess your sins.)
You must REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin. To walk with Christ in His righteousness. To turn away from whatever sin has had a stronghold on you.
BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for your sins on the Cross AND rose from the dead.
RECEIVE Jesus Christ, through prayer, into your heart and your life as Lord and Savior of your life. Accept God’s gift of eternal life. When Christ comes into your life, He may change your life in ways which may be uncomfortable, as He transforms your life.
Romans 10:13, NASB says ‘Whoever will call on the Name of the Lord will be saved.’
Revelation 3:20, NIV says ‘Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’
Confirmation of the Decision to Receive Christ
You prayed the prayer. You are committing your life to Christ. So what just happened?
1) You are saved. (Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Romans 10:13)
2) You are a child of God. You became a child of God when you received His Son as your Savior.
3) You have everlasting life. You can be certain of that (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16)
The tract has several items which you should always mention to the new Christian as steps going forward. They should never just be sent away with no direction as to the next steps for them as a believer. First I will tell you the steps from the tract and then I will add my own remarks.
Share with others about your salvation and how you feel about your new commitment to Christ
Commit to a Bible-teaching Church for worship, instruction, fellowship and service with other believers. Fellowship with other believers is a command give to us in Scripture. (There are many scriptures which tell us this.) IE, Hebrews 10:24-25 says: ‘And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.’
Join a Bible Study Class in your Church. Get connected with other believers. It is very important to fellowship, worship, study and pray with other believers.
Commit to a quiet time each day with the Lord. Study His Word and Pray each day to draw near to Him and to hear from His Word and have quiet where you can hear from Him.
Baptism is an illustration. Baptism by immersion best illustrates the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ on our behalf and our subsequent faith in Him. It is not necessary for salvation but is strongly associated with salvation, as it illustrates our new identity with Jesus Christ.
Believer’s Baptism: A person must first exercise faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He died for their sins, was buried and rose from the dead. An infant or person who does not understand God’s plan of salvation cannot make that kind of commitment. The Scriptural order is belief first, followed by baptism. Baptism is limited to those who have personally believed in Jesus Christ as Savior.
Mark 1:9-11 | Matthew 28:18-20 | Mark 16:15-16 Acts 8:12 | Matthew 3:13-17 | Colossians 2:12
We don’t press a new believer to be baptized although we do ask when they want to be baptized. It is a Profession of their Faith in Christ and should be done when they are ready to make the Profession.
Additional Comments from me
I believe that what is missing many times for the new believer is someone guiding them as to what their new life in Christ should look like. Many times people are invited to church, a bible-study, a beach retreat, a women’s Christian event, and they go and they hear the Word and they feel the Holy Spirit moving them to accept Christ. They want to have what they see these others around them have.
They go forward and accept Christ and then the event is over and they go back home to their worldly job and worldly friends and family and POW the Enemy immediately attacks! Their family and or friends make fun of them. They tell them they have been tricked. They push them to go out and get drunk or do drugs with them or watch sexually explicit movies with them. The person falls right back into the rut they were in.
They have to be told that they should be expecting the attack. They need to feel free to call the person who witnessed to them or be given the phone number of someone in the church to call when they are being bombarded by the Enemy’s temptation to turn back to their old ways.
I feel that this is where the church fails is following up with the new believers. Encouraging them to come to worship and to Bible study and get acquainted with others who will become their support group.
It is not easy as a new believer to stay on the path they want to follow. It is hard at times for those of us who are long time believers. We should not leave these new believers out in the lake without a life jacket. Yes they have their new found Faith but it is weak. It takes all of us caring, loving, praying, and helping the new believer to grow strong in their new found Faith.
As believers we MUST abide in His Word. Staying in His Word daily draws us close to Him.
Go to a weekend Bible Study at your Church in addition to your daily study. Go to Precepts or MasterLife classes and dig in to the Word. The more you are in His Word the stronger you will become.
Prayer. Breath prayers, long prayers, individual prayer, prayer with prayer groups, friends, other believers….Prayer is so important. Prayer shows your worship and adoration of the Lord. It shows your Faith and your Trust. Sometimes it just helps you to feel Him near. The chaos and busyness of today’s world blocks Him out. Get alone and spend time speaking to Him but also spend time just listening for Him to speak to you.
Worship. Weekend Church is not just about the sermon. It is about Worship. Don’t just sit and listen to others singing. It is about you worshipping Him. Praise Him. Sing out to Him. It isn’t just about someone else’s performance of a beautiful song, it is about YOU being interactive and Worshipping your Lord and Savior and God!
Volunteering. Serving with other believers is important as well. Jesus said He came to serve not to be served. If we are to follow Him and be His disciples we are to volunteer to help and serve others. And guess what the blessing is greater for the servant than the receiver in most cases. Be blessed! There are many ways to serve in your church and other organizations.
Being a Christian requires ACTION. Many faiths believe that deeds come first before you can be saved. Christianity believes that the action of receiving Christ as your Savior comes first. Then doing the above actions as a Christian will transform you into someone who bears fruit and does good deeds as part of who you are in Christ. Loving others and bearing fruit for Him is what it is about. It will come because of your Love for Him and for others.
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Blessings to you all. To God be the Glory!