#815 - "Death Was Arrested" by North Point InsideOut
Brandon Coker and Seth Condrey take us behind one of the most powerful anthems for this Easter season.

Posted: April 20, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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North Point InsideOut, the music ministry of North Point church based in Atlanta, Georgia, recently released its first project with Centricity Music. Nothing Ordinary features five songs that were written and performed by North Point InsideOut worship leaders, musicians and songwriters, including the popular "Death Was Arrested," which has also already been recorded by Aaron Shust and Laura Story. 

With the powerful lyrics "Alone in my sorrow, dead in my sin / Lost without hope with no place to begin / Your love made a way to let mercy come in / When death was arrested and my life began," the song resonates with listeners, especially as we celebrate Resurrection Day. I had the chance to speak with Brandon Coker and Seth Condrey about "Death Was Arrested."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

Brandon: I think what is interesting about this song for me is that I'm a drummer. I do not sing and I do not play a melodic instrument, so writing songs was not something I thought would be an option for me. Honestly, it's been all God that I've been involved in writing songs. 

This song story started with me visiting my uncle in St. Mary's Georgia about three years ago. I was walking through a graveyard, which is not something I normally do for the record. It was 10:30 in the morning, and if it had been 10:30 at night I wouldn't have been there, as I'm normally afraid of that type of thing. This particular time, I saw this graveyard with these beautiful oak trees covered in Spanish moss, and it was a beautiful place. I walked in and looked around, and I found a tombstone that subsequently changed my life. I'll recite for you what it said:"Here rests what was mortal of Samuel Burr, age 42. In search of help far from home, death arrested his progress on April 2, 1831. Quietly he fell asleep in the Christian hope of immortality and glory forever." 

I was blown away at the beautiful tribute to this man. I don't know his story at all, but I thought that was a creative way to say that he had passed away, that death arrested his progress in his life here. 

Fast forward a couple of years later, and we were sitting on a back porch discussing songwriting, and I read that same message but heard it a little bit differently this time. I heard that if he fell asleep with the Christian hope of immortality and glory forever, then death did not really arrest anything for him. We as Christians believe that when Christ's eyes opened in the tomb and air filled His lungs again, He conquered death once and for all for anyone who puts their faith and hope in Him. It's that simple. You can put your faith in Jesus and find the exchange in hope and life in Jesus. I said that out loud, and the journey of the song began at that point. 

The first verse lyrics fell in my lap. We knew we would get to the resurrection of Jesus as the crux of the song. The end of the song, "free, free, forever I'm free, come join the song of the redeemed," is our response to Him for arresting death for us and setting us free. That's the story of how the song was written.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (NKJV): "So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death where is your sting?'"

Philippians 3:7-11 (NKJV): "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

2 Thessalonians 1:12 (NLT): "Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with Him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ."

What is the takeaway message?

Seth: I do believe and would say without a doubt that our mission in life and the reason we are able to experience what the end of the song says, freedom and redemption, is because of the resurrection. You mentioned 1st Corinthians 15, and I love how at the end of that, Paul makes the case that if Christ is not risen from the dead, then Christians are the most pitiful people in the world. 

Going after spiritual freedom, we throw off a lot of things the world would say is important, like money and success. We say there's something greater to live for. At the end of that, Paul says because Christ is indeed risen, be steadfast and unmovable day in and day out, giving ourselves to the work of the Lord. We know that what we do in Him and in His power is not in vain. The only way that is possible is that if the message of this song, that death has been arrested and that we have the possibility of new life and freedom, is actually true and a reality. It's not just a religious belief, but affects the way we love our wives and our kids, the way we serve our churches, and is the heartbeat of our worship songs. Christ in us is our hope for everything. He is alive!

Alone in my sorrow and dead in my sin
Lost without hope with no place to begin
Your love made a way to let mercy come in
When death was arrested and my life began

Ash was redeemed only beauty remains
My orphan heart was given a name
My mourning grew quiet my feet rose to dance
When death was arrested and my life began

Oh Your grace so free
Washes over me
You have made me new
Now life begins with You
It's Your endless love
Pouring down on us
You have made us new
Now life begins with You

Released from my chains I'm a prisoner no more
My shame was a ransom He faithfully bore
He cancelled my debt and He called me His friend
When death was arrested and my life began

Our Savior displayed on a criminal's cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That's when death was arrested and my life began
That's when death was arrested and my life began

Oh Your grace so free
Washes over me
You have made me new
Now life begins with You
It's Your endless love
Pouring down on us
You have made us new
Now life begins with You

We're free, free
Forever we're free
Come join the song
Of all the redeemed
Yes we're free, free
Forever amen
When death was arrested and my life began
When death was arrested and my life began
That's when death was arrested and my life began

The song is an emotive and poetic description of a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us. The enemy is real, and our best defense against his desire to destroy us is to cry out the victorious words of songs like "Death Was Arrested" at the top of our lungs, knowing that our Redeemer has saved us from death, forever. No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, this song is a salvation message that helps us remember that Jesus came to die, defeated death and rose again to set us free.
There is nothing we have been given that is more valuable than our salvation. This song moves me to reflect on just how much Jesus endured for His bride to purchase us from the grave. This song is a foretaste of that beautiful ending that we are all running towards as we finish the race set before us. Worship is about giving God our best, offering all of ourselves to Him. That is a sweet aroma of praise. He created us to worship Him.

The Good News of the Gospel, which this song perfectly portrays, is that God accepts us no matter what we've done. As the song says, "My shame was a ransom He faithfully bore, He cancelled my debt and He called me His friend, when death was arrested and my life began." What a wonderful, encouraging Truth. That's the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This song is a great way to thank Jesus for the undeserved gift of grace which we celebrate at Easter. Grace could stand for "God's Riches At Christ's Expense." As we celebrate the Resurrection of our King, you can sing this song to Jesus and know that He died to save us. Don't be sad or feel guilty, but accept Jesus and celebrate that Jesus is alive, He rose again! Amen to that!

Watch the band lead the song below.


NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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