It Is Not Death to Die

Yesterday I led a couple songs during the funeral of Mark Walker, a dear friend from a church I used to be a pastor at years ago. It was one of the most joyful memorial services I’ve been to, due largely to the glowing countenance of Marks’ widow, Marie. Everyone who honored Mark also took time to honor Marie for her joy, faithfulness, servant heart, and trust in God. She cared for Mark around the clock for the last two years as he tried to make it through a second liver transplant. Mark’s fight is finally over. He’s rejoicing with his Savior.

At the funeral, I had the privilege of singing a song called It Is Not Death to Die. I wrote it a while back, based on a hymn by Henri Malan (1787-1864) that was translated into English by George Bethune (1847). I’ve tried numerous renditions of the chorus. A previous version went like this:

O Jesus, Author of all life
Your chosen ones can never die
You were cursed for us to bring us to your side
And it is not death to die.

Since funerals are great opportunities to help non-Christians understand their perilous position outside of a saving relationship with God the Father through Christ, I wanted the song to clarify that Jesus was cursed for those who trust in him, not everyone in general. Only Christians can truly sing “it is not death to die.” I also wanted the song to explain that our hope for overcoming death is rooted in our union with Christ by grace through faith. So I changed the words to this:

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has pow’r to save
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
That it is not death to die.

“It is Not Death to Die” is one of the songs that will be on the next Sovereign Grace release, Come Weary Saints, due out in April. Typically a song about death wouldn’t fit on a “worship” CD. But Come Weary Saints wasn’t designed to be your typical worship CD. Here’s a video where I explain our thinking behind it.

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12 Responses to It Is Not Death to Die

  1. Gabriel Gagnon January 22, 2008 at 7:22 PM #

    I’m excited to listen to this new CD, and it’s absolutely true that we all go through hard moments, I’m sure many people will be touched by this CD and that it will help them. Don’t give up!

  2. Bobby Gilles January 23, 2008 at 11:35 AM #

    I’m stoked for the release of this new CD. Hymnists and gospel songwriters wrote so many great songs of comfort in previous centuries, but the Church has, in many ways, gotten away from that. I’m glad to see this theme being given the “Sovereign Grace treatment.”

  3. Paul Hayes January 23, 2008 at 7:35 PM #

    Bob,
    What a great concept for an album! I believe that this will be one your your most sought after projects. Keep up the good work, Paul Hayes

  4. AJ May 25, 2009 at 1:00 PM #

    I love “It Is Not Death To Die.” Man, is that song sweet. It has such an eternal perspective to it, and I will absolutely want that song to be sung at my funeral. It’s words show that death was conquered by Christ and no longer to be feared by those who are in Him.

  5. Bill Benson January 26, 2010 at 9:28 PM #

    I bought several of your worship CD’s around Christmas time this year and have really been enjoying your wonderful music and messages. I am a worship leader in my church here in Carroll, Iowa. I was asked to help provide music for the funeral of a dear brother in Christ who this week went home to be with the Lord. I hadn’t really listened yet to “It is not death to die” and suddenly realized how perfect it would be for this funeral. Our Pastor agreed and – what a blessing it was to the service. Thanks for writing that song. Your brother in Christ Bill.

  6. Judy Yadrick February 16, 2011 at 11:47 AM #

    A friend emailed me the words and link to the song sung.
    It was no coincidence – that my friend had NO clue that I had just lost my dear Aunt Milly. The song was so beautifully recorded and came as such a comfort … I was greatly blessed by it. Thank you!!!

  7. Dan Lucarini January 27, 2013 at 10:02 AM #

    Thank you, Bob. And praise be to the Lord for this song. Comforted several hundred people yesterday at the memorial service for Ahna Pollock, who was taken home to be with the Lord at age 26.

    • Bob Kauflin January 27, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

      Dan, so good to hear from you, even if it is in the comments section of my blog. I thank God that the song was an encouragement to Ahna’s family and friends. We serve a mighty Savior whose life, death, and resurrection provide the greatest comfort we can ever know.

  8. Highland Goodman August 7, 2013 at 9:32 PM #

    Bob,

    I first heard your song on Todd Friel’s TV show WRETCHED.
    The reason it so touched my heart is that I deal with death on weekly basis. I am a Chaplain in a Christian based long term care facility. I now will be sharing it each month at our communion service when we also remember residents who have passed into eternity since our last service. I shared with a Bible study group that I lead where one of the members is undergoing chemo. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he listened. I shared it with our Pastor following the death of a 16 year old member that had been killed in a car accident. He played it at the end of our Worship service. As I continue to pass on the song to others, my wife and I have already decided to have it sung at our funerals. Thanks for your “God inspired gift” to all of us!

    • Bob Kauflin August 7, 2013 at 9:41 PM #

      Highland, thank you for your encouraging words, but more importantly, for your faithful service in the name of Christ to those who are suffering. Much grace to you, brother.

  9. Lillie Swope December 6, 2013 at 8:49 PM #

    Praise be to ELOHIM for HIS tender words and ways. The words are perfect, the voice is perfect and the music is perfect. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above form the FATHER of heavenly light…” HE is our COMFORTER and our CONFIDENCE. It is all in the song. Thank YOU.
    In HIS light and love,
    One who delights in HIM, Lillie

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Biblical Worship » Blog Archive » Where are the Songs about Heaven? - May 22, 2009

    [...] Kauflin based this song on an older hymn text of the same title written in the nineteenth century (http://www.worshipmatters.com/2008/01/it-is-not-death-to-die/).  Why don’t we sing songs in worship like these today?  Songs that give us an eternal [...]

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