The primary problem with humans is our sinfulness / ignorance, and the harm we inflict on each other because of that. In other words, it is our immorality that God is really angry with.
So the simple solution is to teach us to acknowledge and repent from our sinfulness, so that we become more and more like the kind of human beings that God originally intended to be made in His image.
And God wants to treat us like his children. He understands that we are weak, so he does not expect us to become morally perfect overnight. But God does expect us to have a repentant and humble attitude, to always be ready to “put to death” our old, sinful selves, and hence become a new creation.
Looking at it from the time dimension, we can see that the present “me” is not the same as the “me” in the past. So in a very real sense, when I repent of my old sinful ways, the older, more sinful version of me literally “dies”, because that version of me literally ceases to exist. Hence, when I have repented of my sins, there is nothing left to “punish”, because the old self is already “dead”! (In this way, the truly repentant sinner is saved from God’s wrath.)
And so, since what God really wants to save us from, is our sinfulness itself, the believer has to regularly repent of his sins, and work to correct his moral flaws.
This is what I think it means to “sow to the spirit” (Gal 6:7-9), and to “store up treasures in heaven” (Mat 6:19-23). The word “heaven” in Hebrew/Greek literally means “the sky”, and “spirit” literally means “wind / breath”. This is contrasted with “earth” and “flesh”.
So, when the true believer truly practises his faith, he will be working to change his own mind and attitudes, which are “spiritual”, intangible things that belong in “heaven”, and fundamentally different in nature from the tangible, “earthly” things like money and physical possessions.
Hence, I see salvation as a kind of attitude that a believer has. It is the humble and repentant attitude that differentiates someone who is saved from someone who is unsaved.
Matthew 18:2-5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.