These are two branches of Christian theology that study the significance of Christ in our life. Christology deals with the study of the person of Christ, the Son of God who became man. Soteriology deals with the study of Christ as our Savior. Both studies are meant to give us deep and effective understanding of Christ in our life who actually is everything to us.
In the gospel of St. John, chapter 8, verses 21 to 30, we see how Christ lamented how the people still could not know who he really was in spite of the wonderful teachings he gave them and the miracles that he did. At one point, he said: “‘For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning…’”
We all have the need to know Christ well. This need involves not only a few of us. It involves all of us. And so, we just have to see how we can go through these theological sciences of Christology and soteriology, which can be done both formally and informally.
As the gospels narrate in many occasions, in spite of all the miracles and the wonderful teachings he gave them, many of the people continued to be doubtful and even suspicious of him. On several occasions, they even tried to harm and eliminate him. Of course, in the end they got their way. They managed to put Christ to death in the most ignominious way to die, i.e., to be crucified.
It is a phenomenon that continues to take place today, in spite of the most convincing of the miracles of Christ—his own resurrection that later led to his ascension into heaven that was witnessed by a good number of people.
That many of us continue to doubt and even to be suspicious of him can be seen in the fact that we continue to take him for granted, to put him aside from our daily affairs as if he is irrelevant or just a drag to our activities, and even to openly reject and to be hostile to him.
We need to correct this predicament immediately and strongly, otherwise we would be fully cut off from the very source and keeper of our humanity. There are many ways to resolve this problem. We obviously cannot cover all of them, but we can at least mention a few.
One way is to disabuse ourselves from banking our belief in Christ mainly on some tremendous miracles and extraordinary events. That would be like testing or doubting God always. We should believe in Christ, with or without miracles.
Christ himself complained about this. “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will not believe,” he said to a court official whose daughter was dying. (Jn 4,48)
We need to strengthen our belief in Christ by undertaking the relevant study of his person and mission, and by submitting ourselves to a certain plan that would make our personal and collective relation with Christ alive.
We certainly have to learn how to pray, how to offer sacrifices. We have to develop virtues that would resemble us little by little with him. We need to avail of the sacraments. We have to learn to wage a lifelong ascetical struggle since we will always be hounded by the enemies of God and of our own soul, starting with our own weaknesses, etc.*