The promise of salvation is not merely a promise to deliver souls to a blissful afterlife, but rather the rescue of every aspect of creation from the curse of sin.
Salvation is about restoring this world (unto eternity). And thus the Project of Salvation begins not with images of harps and clouds, but of God redeeming his people from bondage.
The story of the Exodus is salvation in microcosm: Israel – as humanity’s representative – is living out the process of restoration. Though she begins in hardship and suffering, God is attentive to her needs and – hearing her cries – steps into history to be her Savior.