The world has many euphemisms for death, some of which are a bit crass, phrases like, "kicked the bucket," "pushing up daisies," "bit the dust." I could go on. Sometimes we use such phrases so we don't have to speak about the reality of death. Death can be an uncomfortable subject of conversation. Often, we avoid the topic so we don't have to confront our own mortality.
But Christians speak about death differently. We are much more realistic about death. First, we recognize that all people die because all are sinners. Physical death is the consequence of sin, both inherited sin and the sins we commit. Christians also recognize the eternity of the soul, and that although we were spiritually dead the Christian has been crucified and raised with Christ in our baptisms. Though we die, we know that our souls go to be with the Lord, and our bodies will be raised to eternal life on the last day. Thus, we have different ways to speak about the death of the believer.
Scripture provides us with mortis dulcia nomina, Latin meaning “The Sweet Names of Death”. These ways of talking about death reflect the reality of what we believe. Here's a list: “Gathered to one’s people” (Gen. 25:8, 17), “Departure in peace” (Luke 2:29), “Depart and be with Christ” (Phil. 1:23), “Taken from evil” (Is. 57:1), “Sleep” (Matt. 9:24; John 11:11; 1 Thess. 4:13; Daniel 12:2), “Rest” (Rev. 14:13; Heb. 4:11), “Passing from death to life” (John 5:24), “Deliverance from evil” (2 Tim. 4:18), “Gain” (Phil. 1:21).
Luther writes: "Scripture has a lovely manner of speaking of death and the deceased,” and then proceeds to set forth this 'lovely manner' ... We must henceforth learn a new speech and language in speaking of death and the grave.… That is not a human, earthly language, but a divine, celestial language. For the like you find in none of the books of all learned and wise on earth.… But among Christians this should be a familiar, common, and current speech.”
As God's people let us have confidence that for us death is but sleep, and our Lord will return in glory to awaken us on the last day, to live forever with Him.