*Spoilers to Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion*
There are two kinds of people in this world: Christians and non-believers. Non-believers, those who have not been saved by Jesus Christ, live according to works and are slaves to sin. Christians know this because they have been set free from their pasts and have faith in God, opening their eyes to the darkness around them. Those who do not follow the Lord have the opportunity to receive grace for their wrongdoings by accepting Jesus’s sacrifice and having faith in Him. However, there is a certain point where depravity of mind and rejection of the Gospel message influences the non-believer so much that they tune out to anything God. These people are in rebellion against the truth that aims to set them free and instead freely choose sin that locks them in chains.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Homura Akemi while discussing the subject of non-belivers, especially after gaining a fresh perspective from watching Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion. Her actions, attitudes, and emotions towards the sacrifice Ultimate Madoka made mirror perfectly the way non-believers reject the sacrifice that Jesus made.
The anime series before this film explored about how Magical Girls were regular middle schoolers who traded their lives in exchange for superhuman powers and one wish of their desire. They are given Soul Gems, glass viles that contain their souls, so that they can fight witches without the fear of their physical bodies giving way. However, this immortality for Magical Girls comes at a price: Soul Gems naturally taint themselves overtime and can only be purified by defeating witches. If a Soul Gem is not properly cared for, the owner will themselves turn into a witch and their soul will disappear from the world.
Homura was one of the innocent girls who fell prey to this crooked system and led a cursed life by slaving herself to hunting witches for the sake of her wish. The wish that she made to become a Magical Girl was to have the ability to travel back in time so that she could save her best friend Madoka Kaname from certain death. This desire for her cut deep into her heart and could never be achieved since her friend’s death was written into the fabric of the universe. She had gone over and over again, reliving her past hundreds of times to discover the hopelessness of her pursuit, and it was the despair that was enough to taint her Soul Gem and turn her into a witch.
Only when Madoka Kaname became a Magical Girl, sacrificing her own humanity, and making a wish that saved all others from turning into witches did Homoura have the chance to escape from her despair. This event became a permanent rule in the universe known as the Law of Cycles that extended to every Magical Girl who was close to their imminent fate, but resulted in Madoka being erased from existence and assuming her role as a god.
Jesus Christ’s purpose on Earth was nearly the same as Madoka: becoming the problem that plagued mankind and saving it when it could not save itself. God himself died on the cross to pay the debt of sin so that people could have a personal relationship with Him and gain access to heaven. No more did people have to worry about doing enough good works to cancel wrongdoings, but instead accept that Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient. Jesus, just like Madoka, left the Earth after He had fulfilled His role and is waiting for us to meet Him face-to-face in the afterlife.
Both sacrifices, Jesus’s and Madoka’s, offer much more than mankind deserved, yet there are some that blatantly reject it out of pure rebellion. Before she could be saved, Homura created a dream-like place inside her Soul Gem that separated her from the real world. Within it, she erased her own memories and even stole her friends from reality so that she could spend eternity living with Madoka. Even after knowing that her desire to have her friend was the wish that brought her into her cursed life in the first place, she still chased after it.
A comparison that I see from this is to non-believers who change their own perception and bend the truth of the Gospel so that they can pursue their own sinful nature and passions. There may be one particular thing that separates them from the Lord and they willingly choose to take that over the God that made them. They understand the essential questions of life, know that God is the one who brings ultimate purpose, and openly turn away from His grace.
Paul talks about this issue in Romans 1:18-32 and concludes that God’s wrath is poured out on those people that turn away from the Gospel. Just like Homura knew about The Law of Cycles and decided to run from its power, people in our world follow their own passions and pursuits instead of praising the God who freely gave salvation. Most importantly, those who reject Jesus Christ are “without excuse” and will not be shown mercy on judgement day.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:18-21. NKJV)
Not only are these people unable to escape judgement, but their confession of evil has forced the Lord to give them away to their own sinful ways. Even after giving them chance after chance, non-believers test the grace of God and go further away from the truth to a point where they are lost in themselves. Even when non-believers understand that Jesus is reaching out to them, they still follow their own passions instead. Eventually, when they meet the Lord in the afterlife, they will be beyond saving.
Homura Akemi made similar mistakes in Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion when she realized that Madoka had entered her Soul Gem to save her, breaking the dream-like place that had control over her mind. Homura had been freed of the prison that she had dwelled in and had returned to the real world. Coming down from the sky in a brilliant light, Madoka extended her hand to wipe Homura’s Soul Gem clean and take her into heaven. However, Homura’s desire to have her friend (seeking the wish that made her a Magical Girl) and stopping her from becoming her god-form went above the salvation that she was offered.
Homura’s despair and depravity of mind was so far gone that she created an entirely new universe where she was its ruler and had Madoka’s physical presence trapped forever. Her Soul Gem had broken and turned into something different, something distinctively evil. Paul explains this same concept for non-believers who have had themselves tainted by sin for so long and how even while Jesus offers salvation and freedom they still deny it. The saddest reality is that these people understand that death awaits them in the next life and they still will not accept the love that the Father offers, living in a perpetual Hell on Earth that will only continue for eternity when they are cast into the fire.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting, being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteousness judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32, NJKV)
Non-believers, just like Homura, are in complete rebellion to the God that loves them and wants to set them free. They savor their darkened minds and enjoy the sin that enslaves them. However, grace changes everything and Jesus’s sacrifice is big enough for any amount of wrongdoing. There is no way to ever out run God’s love and He will always pursue you until the very end. He desperately wants non-believers to come to know and have a personal relationship with Him. So if you don’t believe in Jesus Christ, don’t be led by the misconception that you have to clean yourself up before God because He will take you no matter what you have done! Turn away from rebellion of God and He will show you a new way of life that is much more satisfying than sin could ever offer.