For the essence of sin is
man substituting himself for God,
while the essence of salvation is
God substituting Himself for man.
Man asserts himself against God and puts himself
where only God deserves to be;
God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself
where only man deserves to be.
Man claims prerogatives that belong to God alone;
God accepts penalties that belong to man alone.
John Stott, The Cross of Christ
Our struggle with God, from our first breath, is wanting to forget we are made from dust, molded from mud, and will return to the ground, no matter what. Between the womb and the tomb is the choice of acting as though we own the earth and somehow it owes us everything because we exist, or whether we tread lightly, knowing each breath, each morsel, each day is an undeserved gift granted by Him taking our place. When we acknowledge that His heart on earth bled so that ours will continue to beat, so that we may laugh, cry, love and worship–only then we are right with God, instead of insisting we be God.
His heart for ours. A substitution made perfect.