It is important to identify the role that religion has in this powerful film. For Maximus, it is his strong spirituality that drives him and keeps him focused in life. This is evident from the beginning of the film in the tremendous battlefield scene. Note what Maximus says to his soldiers before the battle to encourage them and drive them on:
Patres! Three weeks from now I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line. Stay with me. If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled; for you are in Elysium, and you're already dead! [The soldiers laugh] Brothers, what we do in life, echoes in eternity.
The reference to Elysium, or the Roman concept of heaven, is particularly important, as throughout the film, Maximus was very clear that when he died he would be reunited with his wife and son. This makes him absolutely fearless, and the end of the film suggests that when he does die he is granted his wish of being reunited with them. Note too, however, the final line: "What we do in life, echoes in eternity." This is of course a key line of the film, and again suggests the strong role that spirituality has in the character of Maximus. He recognises that there is more to life than just his mortal existence, and his actions in this life will have a massive impact on eternity in some way.