By Lin Fan, Czech Republic
Salvation is a meaningful Christian film. The screenwriter uses the experience of a Christian in mainland China as an example to tell the story of how Christians, on the path to faith in God, should pursue to achieve salvation and. This is a serious subject which is worthy of considering.
The protagonist Xu Zhiqian believed in the Lord from his youth. In 2010, he accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. He was of good caliber and gifted. Moreover, he zealously expended for God and performed his duty. Because of this, he was arrested and tormented by the CCP police. Since he was released from prison, he has been performing his duty and had some actual experiences. Afterward, his wife is also captured and imprisoned. He worries about her a lot, but doesn’t issue complaints or become passive, and instead he continues to bustle around for the church work.
As a church leader, Xu Zhiqian can fellowship about the truth to resolve some actual problems of brothers and sisters, thus obtaining their recognition and admiration; when new believers raise questions like, “What really is the difference between the salvation that people often said in the Age of Grace and being cleansed and saved in the Age of Kingdom?” and “Can believers in the Lord who have already been redeemed from their sins and saved during the Age of Grace be raptured into the heavenly kingdom?” he can integrate them with God’s words and communicate solutions to these believers; when a co-worker sister becomes negative because of being betrayed by her unbelieving husband, Xu can communicate God’s intentions with the sister and help her have ways to practice; when two co-workers cannot coordinate harmoniously and this can’t be solved by other co-workers, he can resolve it. Later, when a brother says to him in admiration, “You can refute the rumors of the CCP and the fallacies of pastors and elders, and also can resolve problems of brothers and sisters. I think you really know the truth and have achieved reality and that you surely canand enter the kingdom of heaven,” Xu also thinks of these as a capital and thinks he himself is someone who pursues the truth and can achieve salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven.
One day, after a meeting ends, Xu complacently says to his co-worker Li Cheng that there was a fine outcome from the meeting. However, Li points out that both of them only focus on preaching to solve other people’s problems but seldom practice the truth, only focus on working but haven’t gained any entry. Li also says if they don’t gain any truth from their belief in God, then it will be easy for them to fall down and fail when they are faced with tribulations and trials. Hearing these, Xu begins to reflect on himself. At this moment, he feels depressed, which can be seen from the scene where he listlessly walks his bike on his way home. Through reflection, praying to God and seeking the truth, Xu comes to know that he does have these problems, and begins to seek out God’s words to solve them. In the judgment in God’s words, Xu realizes that he only pays attention to fellowshiping about the knowledge of God’s words, but seldom puts these words into practice, and his behavior is no different from that of the Pharisees. And he realizes that since his pursuits are wrong, he really is not eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom.
One day, the moment Xu arrives at Brother Zhao’s home he hears that his wife has been beaten to death by the CCP police. With an astonished and dull look, he falls into a chair.
In the dead of night, Xu sits on the floor. The flying snow outside reflects his feelings. The flashbacks of his living and having meetings with his wife and daughter show he is in extreme agony. Previously, he was full of confidence and strength, and pursued actively, while now he is weak, in agony, and full of misunderstanding and blame toward God. This forms a clear contrast. All his present behaviors tally with behaviors of those who only focus on understanding doctrines, pursue blessings but don’t possess the reality of the truth. The word “The greatest talkers are always the least doers” vividly reflects his real condition.
Actually, in experiences of Christians, such a severe test is also God’s profound love. In the past, I only knew suffering is our teacher and masked blessings, and that we should learn to grow up in it. It is only after watching this film and through Xu Zhiqian’s real experience that I realize that behind hardship is God’s great love and salvation toward us. God uses trials and tribulations to save man, and they are the necessary path for us believers to attain salvation. The meaning of this film really is profound.
After days of painful refinement, Xu comes to understandfrom Almighty God’s words. Then a pen holder in shape of a surfing person appears in the film. The prop indicates that Xu comes to his senses. In real life, surfers will encounter various unforeseen sufferings when surfing, and they may fall into the sea if not careful. However, as long as they have courage, perseverance and high degree of surfing skills, they are able to ride the waves on their surfboards. Similarly, in reality, each and every one of us, regardless of what roles we play, will encounter failures and difficulties in our home, at work, and on every journey in our life. However, when we see clearly things according to God’s words, these problems can all be solved. Failure is not dreadful or humiliating. However, when people decide to give up and are even unable to recover after a setback, they’ll become complete failures. The reason why they fail is that they don’t understand what efforts God has devoted to them. Those who don’t understand God’s will and also don’t want to understand are the poorest people.
Xu, who has come to his senses, says: “This trial revealed something to me. It exposed that my intentions in serving God were to gain blessings, and exposed the contamination in my belief. Believing in God and expending for God like this doesn’t accord with God’s will or requirements at all. … God allowed this trial to come. I needed this for my life experience, and I know God was using this to save me.” Indeed, those who never fail can’t achieve success easily, while those who become successful easily must pass through greater failures. We believers in God can’t achieve salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven by relying on externally sacrificing and working for God. The blessings of the heavenly kingdom can’t be received by relying on our engaging in transactions with God.
As a believer in God, who does not hope to be saved and enter the kingdom of heaven? Xu Zhiqian’s story makes every Christian who pursues the rapture into the kingdom of heaven understand: Just by having meetings, reading the Bible, praying to the Lord and serving in the church every day, we can’t be brought into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returns; even though we can fellowship about the truth to solve all problems, it doesn’t prove that we have stature, and that we are eligible to enter the kingdom of heaven. Instead, only if we follow God’s way, and practice according to God’s will and requirements can we be raptured into the heavenly kingdom. For example, it’s not the one who tells others how to assemble parts into a machine by reading the directions, but the one who can teach people how to use the assembled machine, that can convince others.
As the film concludes, Xu climbs up a mountain covered with snow, reaches its top and then walks toward the sun. This scene is quite profound. The path to success is rough and bumpy. If we want to reach its peak, we must endure suffering. In addition, there is no shortcut to success, and we must go forward step by step. As long as our goal and direction are right, we’ll reach the destination one day even though we can’t walk fast.