Do the blessings and favor received by preachers and pastors today have anything to do with the “royal priesthood”?
Preachers and pastors do not receive any special favor from God. God has called each one of us to serve Him in a unique way. Some of us are to serve Him as pastors, medical doctors, school teachers, carpenters, auto mechanics, or politicians, for example. Pastors and preachers are just as responsible as any other persons to serve God! Each person has a unique responsibility before God to please Him. God grants each one a unique blessing in response to his or her obedience and relationship with Him.
A Special Blessing?
Some claim and others may imply that God grants them special favor because they are pastors or preachers, but that is not necessarily true. What is true, is that those pastors and preachers who labor hard in the scriptures will receive a unique and special blessing from the Lord because they are in God’s Word much more than many Christians. The last phrase of the following verse indicates that there is a special blessing to anyone, not just pastors or preachers, who spends time in the scriptures,
For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. (NASB) 1 Thessalonians 2:13
In this verse we discover that the Word of God performs a work in those who believe and read it. Anyone who reads and studies the scriptures will experience greater spiritual growth just because of spending more time in the scriptures. Consequently, pastors, preachers, and teachers who spend a great amount of time in the scriptures will experience great blessing. This is a truth that is often missed.
Colossians 3:16 also encourages us to dwell in the Word of God richly or “abundantly.”
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (NASB) Col. 3:16
Honor From Others
Pastors, teachers, and preachers should receive special honor from those to whom they teach when they work hard studying the scriptures. That is the message of the following two passages,
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. (NASB) 1 Thess. 5:12-13
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. (NASB) 1 Tim. 5:17
While the scriptures do not indicate that God will treat pastors or preachers in a special way, this passage indicates that God wants those who are taught the scriptures to give them special honor.
Yet pastors, teachers, and preachers will be disciplined by the Lord when they make mistakes in their preaching. Listen to James 3:1-2,
Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. (NASB) James 3:1-2
James 3:1-2 is a warning not to desire to become teachers, preachers, or pastors since God will hold them to a higher standard than those who do not teach and preach His Word. The scriptures are His Word and He does not want it distorted.
Preachers, pastors, and teachers are to be disciplined when they sin just as every other person. They are not to be given special treatment.
Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. (NASB) 1 Tim. 5:19-21
The only passage in the Bible that refers to a “royal priesthood” is 1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. (NASB) 1 Peter 2:9-10
This passage is not about pastors and preachers, but about all Christians – those who believe in Jesus Christ and trust Him for the forgiveness of their sins. Christians are called “royal priests.” The “royal priesthood” has nothing to do with pastors or preachers – unless they have placed their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Preachers, pastors, and teachers can receive great blessings through the ministry of the scriptures when they labor in it because the Word is powerful and it performs a work within anyone who interacts with it. The special blessing continues when those who are taught the scriptures grant them special honor. Yet, they are subject to greater discipline when they sin and when they teach the scriptures incorrectly. May the Lord bless you richly as you study His Word.