We continue our brief detour from the study of Revelations by studying what it means to be washed by the blood of the Lamb. It is important that we understand Jesus’ priesthood as revealed in the law, the prophets and the psalms. We are winding up the study of Jesus’ high priesthood in the order of Melchizedek tonight and then proceed with the deliverance of man through the blood of Christ as our Mediator.
The first part of Hebrews 8 is a compelling account of the fulfilling of the not-so-obvious prophesies of the Old Testament. It deals with the very fiber of the Jewish faith, namely, the covenant with Abraham and the origin of their priesthood. To suggest that it was abolished and the priesthood taken away from the Levites, was to them gross blasphemy. Such a change of their core beliefs had to depend on nothing less than overwhelming testimony from the Scriptures and also overwhelming proof that the One who stood before them is the High Priest forever.
But it is worthy to note that this epistle was written in Greek and not in Hebrew, as one might have expected. This, and the fact that the recipients of the letter were admonished not to fall into disbelief, indicate that this epistle was also written to Christians in general but it was styled so that the Jews would be indicted by its wisdom.
This does not embody the entire study of the priesthood of Melchizedek but since Melchizedek is a crucial part of our understanding of who Jesus Christ is and how he ought to be revered as our Savior and Mediator, what we have done ought to suffice. The purpose of giving ample evidence based on the testimony of Scripture, the law, prophecies, and the psalms, is to have no doubt that Jesus was indeed the Christ prophesied, and that He is our salvation.
The epistle to the Hebrews is a rich dissertation of the priesthood and the office of Christ as High Priest, and the other chapters say much more about the subject than what we will be studying here. Chapter eight deals with Christ as High Priest in heaven who mediates a new, eternal covenant. Chapter nine deals with the holy earthly sacrifices and that they did not make anyone perfect while the one sacrifice of Christ, under the new covenant, brings salvation for all believers by sealing the New Testament with blood – His blood. Chapter ten deals with the efficacy of Christ's one-time sacrifice, which surpasses all the sacrifices of the law.
Let's read again the first six verses of Hebrews 8.
Hebrews 8:1 - 6 The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. 2 And who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man. 3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already men who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.
5They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." 6 But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises.
Hebrews 8:1. The point of what we are saying is this. With these words the Apostle brings the whole context into view and connects chapter eight with chapter seven. To further clearly explain the priesthood of Christ to his readers, the Apostle opposes the priesthood of the Israeli priests with that of Christ, knowing that they would understand the ancient priesthood very well. He spends much time to prove that Christ founded the promised new covenant of the Old Testament.
We do have such a high priest.. It is the first time that the Apostle clearly states what the main point is of his reasoning, namely, what was prophesied in Psalm 110. With the words 'we … have...' the Apostle includes all believers, as if he were saying, 'our high priest went from the earth into heaven and the earthly measures do not pertain to him any longer.' The earthly measures pertained to the Old Testament priests but the heavenly measures now pertain to Christ. The earthly law punishes by an earthly punishment, while the heavenly law is pure grace.
Hebrews 8:2. And who serves in the sanctuary...” This verse relates to us the work of Christ in heaven. He is a Minister, a word that is regularly used in the Greek Translation of the Old Testament in relation to the priestly service. Now the Apostle adds that He is a Minister in the sanctuary of the true tabernacle.
This begs the question: whether the tabernacle of the old dispensation was illegitimate or not. The tabernacle of Israel was perfectly legitimate according to the old dispensation but once the One who was promised to be the eternal Priest came, the old became illegitimate and the new the true tabernacle. This the Apostle proves by adding '...set up by the Lord, not by man.”
When seen in this context, it becomes clear that the old tabernacle was never the true tabernacle, but just a visible image, a precursor, of that true tabernacle that was to come; a promise that would be fulfilled at the same time that the promised Messiah comes.
Hebrews 8:3. Every high priest is appointed... In this verse we see a more specific exposition of the priest's specific task, namely, to offer gifts and sacrifices. There could not have been many people who differed with the Apostle on this point, since they were very familiar with the work of priests. But it was not the aim of the Apostle to teach them something they already knew. The conclusion in the second portion of the verse has a huge impact on the reasoning of the Jews at the time: 'and so it was necessary for this One also to have something to offer'. Skillfully the Apostle brought Christ into their ancient thinking process, which made it inescapable that Christ is the promised One and the eternal Priest that the prophets spoke about. The nature of Christ's offer is more fully dealt with in chapter nine, which we will not cover at this time.
Hebrews 8:4. If he were on earth... Up to verse 3, the Apostle focuses on what happens in heaven and now he turns his attention to what happens on earth. The Apostle highlights an impossibility, namely, that if Christ was supposed to offer on earth, He would not be a priest because there are already men who are fulfilling that office already according to the law.
In heaven, however, it is totally a different matter. In heaven, where the office of Christ is infinite, the finite cannot offer and there the Infinite has been appointed to be Priest according to the new covenant, the order of Melchizedek.
This does not mean that Christ did not have the right to offer at Golgotha, because that was outside the tabernacle and the sacrificial lamb was Christ himself, which already shed the old and introduced the new.
Hebrews 8:5. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy ... Here the Apostle verbalizes the intent of the prophesies by spelling out that the old has to disappear to make room for the new. A copy or image of something becomes worthless when the original is present, since a copy cannot be the original but only a shadow thereof.
Hebrews 8:6. But the ministry Jesus has received... The Apostle immediately switched the image back to the heavenly and states that Christ is not an earthly priest, concluding that He is the One whom they were expecting who will replace their shadowy practices with the real thing and their Tent with the true tabernacle.
Our High Priest brought his own blood to the altar and having no need for an earthly priest who could only bring things temporary to the altar, Christ acted as both priest and sacrifice, bringing that ultimate satisfaction by shedding his blood to wash us clean of our sins and infirmities. It is his blood that delivered us from the depravity, which we suffered since the fall of our First Parents. That fall, that terrible event that caused so much damage and horror depraved us of the ability to praise God and we had to be delivered from that state.
By the righteous judgment of God we deserve temporal and eternal punishment because we previously, before the fall, had the ability to praise God out of our own free will but now there is no way by which we may escape the punishment that we deserve and once again be received into favor. Since, God will have his justice satisfied, there is only one way in which this punishment can be escaped, namely, we must make this satisfaction, either by ourselves or by another. But it has to be made.
All men are in a state of eternal condemnation because of not having rendered the obedience that the law of God requires. We must then find out how it might be possible to escape from this state of misery and death. There is no escape unless satisfaction is made to God's justice that is equal to the sin that has been committed. The law binds all either to obedience, or if obedience is not rendered, to punishment and the performance of either is perfect righteousness.
There are two ways in which satisfaction by punishment can be made, namely, by ourselves and by another. 'By ourselves' is the one that the law teaches and the justice of God requires. This is the legal way.
Galatians 3:10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."
The other way of making satisfaction is by another. This is the method that the gospel reveals and the mercy of God allows.
Romans 8:3, 4 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
This is the evangelical way. It is not taught in the law but then it is also nowhere condemned or excluded. Neither is it repugnant to the justice of God for if only satisfaction is made on the part of man by a sufficient punishment for his disobedience, the law is satisfied and the justice of God permits the offending party to be set free and received into favor. This is the sum and substance.
Furthermore, there are two things that Scripture teaches us, namely, that deliverance of sinful man is possible and how it is effected.
Let’s briefly look at the following:
1. What is the deliverance of man?
The word 'deliverance' is used to describe any deliverance from something to something as from captivity to liberty. As all men are by nature slaves of sin, Satan and death, the best way to understand what the deliverance of man is to know what his misery consists of. That is, from what should he be delivered.
The misery of man consists of firstly the loss of righteousness and his in-bred corruption or sin. Secondly his misery consists of the punishment of sin.
To be delivered from this misery, therefore, requires first and foremost that he be pardoned and that his nature be made whole again. Making his nature whole again requires the abolishing of sin and the restoration of the righteousness that was lost. Secondly, it requires a release from all misery because of punishment.
Since man’s misery consists of two parts, namely, sin and death, so his deliverance has to consist of two parts, which is quite simply the deliverance from sin and death. Deliverance from sin includes the pardon of sin that it may not be imputed unto us and an abolishing of sin by the renewing of our nature that it may not reign in us.
Deliverance from death is a deliverance from despair and a sense of the wrath of God: from the calamities and miseries of this life and also from both types of death: temporal and spiritual.
From these things it is easy to see what we are to understand by the deliverance of man. It consists of a perfect deliverance from all the miseries of sins and death, which the fall brought upon us, and a full restoration of righteousness, holiness, life, and eternal felicity through Christ, which all the faithful experience in this life already and will be fully perfected in the life to come.
2. Is such a deliverance possible?
The following three points convince us that our deliverance is possible:
a) The immense goodness and mercy of God would not let the whole human race perish forever. We may safely conclude this from the many testimonies of Scripture where God would have been perfectly justified in destroying all of creation if he wanted to, but did not.
b) We can expect that the infinite wisdom of God would not let us fall into something from where He has not beforehand ordained a way out by which He might exhibit his mercy towards the human race and yet not violate his justice.
c) We may also conclude that God, who has infinite power, would not create man out of nothing after his own image and then not have the power to raise him up from the ruins of the fall and deliver him from sin and death.
To deny the possibility of the deliverance of man is, therefore, to deny the goodness, wisdom and power of God. But in God there is no lack of goodness, wisdom and power, for we read in
I Samuel 2:6 "The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up."
Psalm 68:20 Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.
Isaiah 59:1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
But how do we know that this deliverance is possible? Can human reason, without the Word of God, arrive at this conclusion? Could Adam, after the fall have known it or hoped for it?
That our deliverance was possible, we now know from the blood of Christ and from the gospel or from that revelation that God was pleased to make. Human reason left to itself, however, could not come to these conclusions and would have known nothing of his deliverance or of the manner in which it was effected. It might have conjectured that it was not impossible in as much as it is not presumable that so glorious a creature as man would be created for eternal misery, or that God would give a law that could never be fulfilled. Human reasoning could only speculate and would never have known for sure.
Those, therefore, who are without the church and ignorant of the gospel can have no knowledge or hope of deliverance. So, Adam, after the fall, without a special promise and revelation could neither know nor hope for it by the mere exercise of his reason. When sin was once committed, the mind of man could not comprehend spiritual things but was consumed with himself and the severe justice of God, which does not permit sin to pass with impunity. The unchangeable truth of God declared in,
Genesis 2:17 But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.
Adam knew full well that it was necessary to make satisfaction to this justice and truth of God by the everlasting destruction of the sinner, so he could not hope for any deliverance in his case. He might have supposed that deliverance could be effected if satisfaction could be made in some way, but he could neither hope for it nor conceive how, or who would accomplish it. Even the angels could never have devised this method of deliverance, had not God out of his infinite wisdom and goodness, conceived it and made it known through the gospel.
How Adam could have despaired had it not been for the promise of the seed of the woman! He could not hope for any deliverance from sin and death before he heard the joyful promise that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. He had now no reason to fall into despair as though it were wholly impossible. For although Adam could not conceive any way from which he might conclude his future deliverance, nor understand the way in which satisfaction would be made, yet he must have known that if God ordained a method of deliverance He would also have a ordained that man would learn about it when it was appropriate.
That gave him sufficient comfort to hope for the One who would bring the deliverance, and he ought not to have despaired, but he had to look away from himself to the wisdom, goodness and power of God even though everything seemed to drive him to desperation.
If, however, the sound of the gospel had not reached his ear, nothing could have sufficiently comforted him under the temptations to which he was exposed. But after the promise was once made known, and he was brought to understand the method of redemption through Christ, then he could not only hope for deliverance with certainty, but could also resolve all doubts and objections that might arise among which we may mention the following:
There are a number of objections that we need to look at concerning this doctrine.
Objection 1: The justice of God does not permit those who are deserving of eternal condemnation to go unpunished. We have all deserved eternal condemnation. Therefore, our deliverance is impossible on account of the justice of God.
Answer: Adam saw how the first proposition of this syllogism could be answered, namely, that the justice of God does not absolve and acquit those who are deserving of everlasting condemnation, unless satisfaction is made by a punishment that corresponds with the offense.
Objection 2: The justice and truth of God are both violated when that is not done that the former requires and the latter threatens. But if everlasting punishment and death is not inflicted upon man then that which the justice of God requires and his truth threatens, is not executed. Therefore, both are violated if man is not punished, which is impossible.
Answer: Here again, Adam saw that the minor proposition was true only in case no punishment at all were inflicted, neither upon the sinner nor upon someone else who might offer himself as a substitute in place of the sinner. But the promise that God revealed to him assured him that Christ, the seed of the woman, would bruise the serpent's head as man's substitute.
Objection 3: That which the unchangeable truth and justice of God demand, is necessary and unchangeable. But the unchangeable truth and justice of God demand that the sinner be cast into everlasting punishment. Therefore, the rejection of the sinner is necessary and unchangeable.
Answer: Adam also saw an answer to the principal proposition of this objection, namely, that that is unchangeable that the justice of God demands absolutely and not that which it requires conditionally. The justice of God demands either the everlasting punishment of the transgressor or satisfaction through Christ.
Objection 4: It is impossible to escape that which one doesn’t have the power of escaping. We have not the power of escaping sin and death. Therefore, it is impossible for us to escape these evils.
Answer: But here again Adam saw that an escape from these evils was impossible only if God neither knew nor would reveal the way of deliverance. That it was unknown to human reason and to all created beings was not a deterrent to Adam because he believed the covenant that God announced when they left the garden. He knew he would never discover the when and how of his deliverance by moping about his misery.
Adam understood and could repel and overcome these and similar objections through the promise of the seed of the woman crushing the serpent's head. We, however, live in the present times and can see and understand much more clearly the solution of these difficulties than Adam could. We know for certain from the gospel and the sacrifice of Christ as well as from our own consciousness that the deliverance of man was not only possible and would take place at some future time, as Adam saw, but that it is also already accomplished by Christ. Hence, the deliverance of man is, and always was, possible with God.
3. Is this deliverance necessary and certain?
Although God was under no obligation to deliver man from the misery of sins but was free to leave all men in death and save no one, as we learn from Scripture in
Romans 11:35 "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?"
Yet, it may correctly be said that man's deliverance was and is necessary, understanding by this term not an absolute but a conditional necessity as it is called.
We know this
a) Because God has most freely and unchangeably decreed and provided it. It is, after all impossible that He should lie or be deceived.
Ezekiel 18:23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
b) Because God desires to be praised and glorified forever by man.
Ephesians 1:5, 6 He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
c) Because God did not in vain send his Son into the world, neither did Christ die in vain.
John 6:38, 39 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'
Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Galatians 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
d) Because God is more inclined to mercy than wrath. But in the punishment of the wicked his wrath is well known. Much more, therefore, is his mercy well known in the salvation of the righteous.
4. Can we expect a perfect deliverance?
The deliverance of man in this life is perfect as it respects the commencement of it, but in the life to come it will be perfect as it respects the consummation of it. In this life it is perfect in all its parts as far as it is a deliverance from both the evil of guilt and punishment. In the life to come it will be perfect also in the degrees of it when all tears will be wiped away from our eyes and when the perfect image of God will be restored in us and God shall be all and in all.
We know this because God does not deliver us only in part but saves and loves perfectly all those whom He saves.
I John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
But we also know that we are sinning -- today and in the future -- and Scripture teaches in just the next verse:
I John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
That, and in other similar passages, is how we know that our perfection has been commenced but not yet consummated in this life.
We also know that our deliverance is perfect because God will punish the wicked most severely that they may, by these punishments, fully satisfy his justice. He will, therefore, also perfectly deliver the godly, since He is more inclined to mercy than wrath, as we have said before. Also, the benefit of Christ is after all much greater in magnitude than the sin of Adam, which would not have been the case if He could not perfectly deliver us from the total loss of righteousness and salvation.
A perfect deliverance can be expected but by degrees as it has been shown. In this life it is perfect; in the resurrection it will be more perfect; and in glorification it will be most perfect.
5. How is this deliverance accomplished?
Our deliverance is accomplished by a full and sufficient satisfaction for sin. Since our sins deserve eternal punishment, the satisfaction has to be eternal also. And we know that the satisfaction is eternal because the punishment that was inflicted is equivalent to that which is eternal. The abolishing of sin and the renewal of our nature, which is done by restoring in us the righteousness and image of God, which we have lost, accomplish our deliverance. One may also say that the renewal of our nature is the regeneration of our nature.
Our nature suffered a fatal blow at the fall of our First Parents. Before the fall we had the capability to glorify God out of our free will and desire. Adam and Eve had the obligation to pass that unique and precious attribute on to their posterity. But once they have lost it forever, their nature was deprived and broken, or corrupted by sin and they had nothing to pass on to their posterity regarding the glorification of God. By the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his washing of our sins in his blood, the perfect character of Christ, rendering us able to glorify God once more out of our own free will and desire, filled the voids in our natures again. The satisfaction for sin, the abolishing of sin, and the regeneration of our nature are all necessary for our deliverance.
Satisfaction is necessary because the mercy of God does not violate his justice, which demands satisfaction. The law binds us to either obedience or punishment. But satisfaction cannot be made through obedience because our past obedience is already impaired and that which follows cannot make satisfaction for past offences.
Obedience binds one to render exact obedience every moment to the law as a present debt. So, when obedience is once impaired, there is no other way of making satisfaction except by punishment, as God threatened, "... if you eat ... you shall surely die..." (Gen 2:17). Only when a sufficient punishment is endured to satisfy the law, is God reconciled and deliverance becomes possible. It is clear, then, that the sinner cannot retrace a course of events and make right what is wrong without falling deeper into sin. Only something outside the sinner and much greater than him can satisfy the justice of God and deliver the sinner.
In like manner, the abolishing of sin and the renewing of our nature are necessary because it is only upon the condition that we cease to offend God by our sins and are thankful to him for our reconciliation, that He is willing to accept this satisfaction.
To be willing that God should receive us into his favor and yet not be willing to abandon sin, is to mock God. But it is not possible for us to leave off and forsake sin, unless Christ renews our nature. It is in this way, therefore, that the deliverance of man is possible.
6. Can we make this satisfaction ourselves?
No, we cannot. On the contrary, we daily increase our debt. If we cannot make this satisfaction ourselves, then who would make this satisfaction and abolish sin? We saw that it has to be someone other and greater than the sinner. What we do know at this point is that we cannot make this satisfaction ourselves neither by obedience nor by punishment.
Let's look at our obedience. Whatever good we do we owe to God by present obligation and it is, therefore, impossible to satisfy for any past offences. In fact, our present obligations are not fully satisfied and are left wanting, so there is no merit left that we would be able to satisfy for past or future offences. Even if we were to satisfy our present obligations to the law of God, then that would leave us bankrupt and unable to produce further satisfaction (past and future) from our one successful satisfaction.
If we are then, left wanting in our daily obligations to God, we increase our guilt and the displeasure of God towards us. Now, he who never ceases to offend can never appease the offended party, just as a debtor who continually adds new accounts to former claims can never release himself from debt.
Let's look at our satisfaction to God for our sins by punishment. Because our guild is infinite, we deserve infinite punishment: punishment that is eternal and equivalent to everlasting punishment. Sin, which is an offense against the highest good, deserves eternal condemnation or at least such a temporal punishment that is equivalent to that which is eternal. But we are unable to make satisfaction by a punishment that is eternal because, if it would take forever, we would never be free from it. We would spend an eternity making satisfaction and it would never be complete.
Our satisfaction could, therefore, never overcome sin and death but would continue in imperfection to all eternity, as the satisfaction of the reprobate and devils. We can also not endure a temporal punishment of such magnitude that it is equivalent to an eternal satisfaction and capable of overcoming death. A mere creature cannot endure such punishment, as we will show. Therefore, to obtain deliverance from our miserable state, satisfaction should be made by someone other than the sinner.
But if we can never satisfy the law, neither by punishment nor by obedience, is the method of deliverance through satisfaction relevant? Although we are not able to make satisfaction through obedience, we are able to make satisfaction through the endurance of a sufficient punishment, not in ourselves, but in Christ, who has satisfied the law both by obedience and punishment.
But if the law requires our own obedience, how can satisfaction by another be acceptable? Scripture teaches in
Leviticus 18:5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD. (Also Ezekiel 20:11; 20:13; Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12) and Deuteronomy 27:26 "Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out."
The law does indeed require our obedience or punishment but not exclusively, for it never excludes or condemns the satisfaction of another on our behalf although it does not teach it explicitly. But the Gospel reveals and shows to us that another mere creature's satisfaction could not be acceptable but the satisfaction of Christ is perfectly acceptable.
If it is unjust to punish another in the place of the guilty, could Christ be punished in our stead? It is not inconsistent with the justice of God that another should be punished in the place of the guilty, as long as the following conditions are present:
a) If the one who is punished is innocent, that is, he is not a party to the sin;
b) If the one who is punished is of the same nature as those for whom he makes satisfaction;
c) If he, of his own accord, offers himself as a satisfaction;
d) If he is able to endure and survive this punishment. This is the reason why men cannot punish one person in the place of another because no man can survive the punishment on behalf of another.
e) If he looks to and obtains the end that Christ had in view, namely, the glory of God and the salvation of man.
7. Can anyone make this satisfaction for us?
No, no one can because God will not punish another creature for the sin that man committed and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin and deliver others from it.
There is need for a clear understanding for the use of the word 'creature' in these explanations. Although the justice of God would not punish another creature for the sins of man, He punished Jesus according to his humanity, in which He was a creature, but not a 'mere' creature or only a creature. A mere creature could not make the satisfaction that was necessary, as we shall now show.
The answer to the question whether satisfaction can be made by any creature besides man and whether it may be a mere creature, is no. In the case of punishment of another: God will not punish the sin of man in any other creature. This is in accordance with the order of his justice, which does not permit one to sin and anther to bear the punishment.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
This proves that no creature, except man, could satisfy for man. Even if God were to destroy all of creation, heavens and earth and even all the angels, would it not satisfy the for the sin of man.
In the case of a mere creature being able to sustain the burden of God's wrath, the following three points are relevant:
a) No creature possesses sufficient power to be able to sustain a finite punishment equivalent to that which is infinite so that sufficient satisfaction could be made for the infinite guilt of man. A mere creature would be consumed before satisfaction could be made to God.
Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Psalm 130:3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand.
Romans 8:3, 4 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
These passages prove that no creature in the whole universe was able to make satisfaction to God for man's sin by punishment and survive the ordeal, which is necessary for the deliverance of man. There could, therefore, because of the weakness of the creature, be no just proportion between sin and its punishment.
b) The punishment of a mere creature could not be a price of sufficient dignity and value for our redemption.
c) A mere creature could not have renewed and sanctified our nature, nor could such a creature have brought it to pass that we no longer sin, all of which were necessary for our deliverer to accomplish.