Grace Upon Grace

These remarks were made at The President’s Reception during Commencement 2024.

“God’s glory and brilliance is the principle of every nature” and thing. I will say it again: “God’s glory and brilliance is the principle of every nature” and thing. What glory is found in our God! That he is the principle, the sustainer, the upholder, the logos of every–thing. For us as Christians, bought by the blood of our Savior and God, we can say this of that same Savior: “Jesus Christ’s glory and brilliance is the principle of every nature and thing.” If learning this singular phrase in all of its meaning and import is not true education then I do not know what is. And I can attest, as I know my friends here would too, that this is the education we received at Bethlehem. As our crest reads: “In Him all things hold together.”

Before coming to Bethlehem, I was a young, wrestling saint full of many questions and in need of guidance, more than what my small-town church in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada could offer. As I saw many of my previously ‘Christian’ friends fall away from the faith, I knew I needed something more to stand on to fight Satan and lies. I can say that Bethlehem served to teach me over these past years truly what to love and how to love it. My house is now firmly built on the rock, and I can speak for my other classmates who Bethlehem did this for as well. All of them were brought to this school and together read the great books in light of the greatest book under the gentle tutelage and careful guidance of the most thoughtful and pastoral faculty. I have not only seen the seed of the gospel in my life be watered during my time here, but as I look around the room and see my fellow students, I see already many great trees, bristling with fruit.

Our education has truly served to build up our faith in Christ. I want to read a quote about how this strengthening happens in the Christian when he studies the humanities. “Thus it is clear how the manifold wisdom of God, which is luminously handed down in Sacred Scripture, is [also] hidden in every act of knowledge and in every nature. It is also clear how all forms of knowledge are the servants of theology.” Thus “such is the fruit of all science [and study]: in all, faith is built up, God [is] glorified, life [is] organized, and consolations are provided; and all this is achieved through the union of the groom with the bride, accomplished by love: a love in which the whole intention of Sacred Scripture come to rest.”

Lest anyone think the reality of this quote is true for me in my sentiments alone, let me ask those graduating college students here if they agree. If you, my fellow classmates, agree to the following statements, please respond with a hearty amen.

“At Bethlehem my faith was built up.”
“At Bethlehem I gloried in my God.”
“At Bethlehem my life was organized.”
“At Bethlehem hope and consolations were given to me.”
“At Bethlehem I came to know greater the Love of my God.”
“At Bethlehem I fell deeper in love with my Savior.”
“I thank God for Bethlehem!”

If there is anyone in this room who has given to Bethlehem College and Seminary, I would have them attune their ears to the amens you all just heard. That is your fruit. Indeed, it is at this point that I want to stop and identify one of the most blissful aspects of this education: much of it came as a gift. Generosity is a blessed thing. Our God is a generous God. He did not have to create this bountiful world, but out of the freedom of His goodness He chose to. After our fall He did not have to love us like He did, but from Christ’s fullness “we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1).

In many ways the generosity of those who paid for two-thirds of our education reflects God’s character to us, and we want to notice that and rejoice in it. For education does not sit low on the list of life-changing events, and many of us have received graces here we would not have otherwise. Therefore, I do believe this is for many of us one of the greatest and long-lasting saint-to-saint acts of generosity we will know in our whole lives. I was given, for no cost of my own, 40,000 dollars—as were all my classmates—so that I could stand and worship a God I know. To the contributors here tonight, I pray you smile and rejoice in your generous God guiding you to give, and as the unmerited receiver I say thank you, thank you, thank you. I know because of your generosity my classmate Michael is able to instantaneously enter seminary without the looming weight of debt. I know couples who can start families without the restriction of major loan payments. I know my friends can flourish with this gift of education and the freedom of zero debt. Praise God for your generosity! And on behalf of the distraught and wondering person I was four years ago, seeking for a foundation, I rejoice in my God whose glory and brilliance is the principle of education here at Bethlehem. Praise His name.

Now to Bethlehem, may she prosper in true doctrine and true hearts. Amen.

Matteo Unger, B.A. ’24

Prayer Requests:

  1. Praise the Lord with us for all he did in and through the class of 2024 while they were with us.
  2. Pray for them as they launch into vocation, further study, starting families, citizenship, and ministry.
  3. Pray for the full funding of this year’s Serious Joy Scholarships in these final days before the fiscal year ends on June 30.
  4. Pray for the students currently across the world on missions trips.






  • Reduction of the Arts to Theology, St. Bonaventure
  • Commentary on Romans, Thomas Aquinas