Song title: Death May Approach
Music: Greg de Blieck
Lyrics: Greg de Blieck
CCLI no: 6467955



Death may approach I shall not flee
For daily I have trained to be
Alive to Christ and dead to sin
Death cannot end what Christ begins


No longer warmed by Satan’s fires
Yet burned by unreformed desires
Spirit of God, attend our flesh
Fountain of life, our souls refresh


Whether at risk to life or limb
Ever our hope is found in Him
As Jesus suffered, so shall we
But not beyond His wise decree


Take up His yoke where freedom reigns
In love He chastens those He trains
Joy has its root, and grace its key
In patience and humility


Many the saints who fell before
Grief for our loss is fresh and sore
Though death may hold them for a day
Jesus has conquered, so shall they


Hallelujah! Christ arose
Bearing the wounds He gladly chose
Emblems of pain transformed by grace
Sins cancelled out, joy in their place



“Death may approach, I shall not flee…” When I wrote this, I wondered whether the first line seemed trite or offhand bravado. Do I really feel that way? Threatened with death, would I really calmly accept it like those great Christian martyrs? Like Bonhoeffer, like St Stephen? Or would I turn tail and flee, like the disciples when Jesus was taken in the garden?


If I don’t know how I would respond, should I really have written these words, or should I really sing them?


To answer that, we have to understand the role of hymn words in these instances. We are called to preach truth to ourselves, to use it to steady our knocking knees. This is because we lose perspective, we lose our sense of place, our new identity, our hope. We forget what Christ has done and His great presence with us. We lose sight of the evidence of God’s sovereignty which has marked our daily lives. We forget to ask the Spirit to attend our flesh – to give us our daily bread.

We are called to preach truth to ourselves, to use it to steady our knocking knees


But if I can see my own death in the context of the daily dying which I must do to sin, in the context of Jesus’ enlivening presence, the joys of His daily yoke, His example in suffering, His loving chastening…If I can see my death in this context, I will find a firm foundation when it comes – it will not be such a surprise, I will have the measure of death, and he will not seem quite so fearsome without his sting. I will have words of truth to remember. And more than words, I will have the very presence of Christ.


The inspiration of this hymn can be found in Romans 6: 1-11. Paul writes of Jesus’ death and resurrection and reminds us that through uniting with Christ in death and allowing him to deal with our sin, we are also subject to a new life in his resurrection.


If I do have courage to face death calmly when it comes, I know at least where my courage will come from.


Bible Passages: Romans 6: 1-11; 1 Corinthians 15: 55-57; Matthew 28: 1-10


  • Resurrection
  • Jesus
  • Easter

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