Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Holiness: God ordained separation.
Righteousness: right standing with God through obedience.
The two concepts are closely related but different. Caiphas who was a holy man by virtue of his office lacked in righteousness in that his heart was corrupt and full of malicious disobedience.
Another person to look at is Samson. Samson was to be set-apart (holy) as a Nazarite from the womb like John the Immerser (John 13:7). This meant that he was not to have contact with carcasses, drink wine or cut his hair. Samson inherited this status of holiness/separation by virtue of the word of God before he was born, but he did not inherit the spirit of obedience without tribulations and suffering (Acts 14:22;Hebrews 5:8).
Some of the records of Samson’s life tell us of him drinking wine with the Philistines, handling the jaw-bone of a dead animal as a weapon, eating honey out of the carcass of a lion and finally allowing his hair to be cut. These things would have been alright for any other individual but because of his status of Nazarite they were wrong for Samson and were imputed to him as sins for which he had to repent before regaining his right standing with the Father. While in disobedience, all his effort proved futile and even caused trouble, but when subject to the boundaries of holiness that God had blessed him with, Samson succeeded to deliver his people. It seems that Yeshua Himself was very careful to observe these principles (John 5:19, 30). In Judaism the Messiah is referred to as: the Righteous One.
Once we enter the sheepfold of Messiah, we also become holy/set-apart and this holiness/’set-apartness’ is defined by certain rules of behavior. It is like if you were to rent my downstairs’ apartment. You would be set-apart and allowed to live there by virtue of my acceptance, but you would also have to obey the rules of the contract. In the case of a believer, the rules are also clearly defined and they range from the ritual to the ethical. Some of these rules are to revere parents; to keep the Sabbaths; to shun idolatry in all its forms; to respect temple procedures (non-applicable at this time); to tithe; to be honest in business, compassionate of the weak and not pervert judgment (using right weights and measures); to not indulge in gossip and slander; to assist a person in danger; not yield to hatred; to exhort a brother or sister, to not harbor vengeance, to not cross breed, commit adultery or indulge in gluttony; to not practice the occult or prostitution, to rise before the elderly and to love the stranger in the land (Leviticus 19).
Some of these seem to be tall order for many of us, but I believe that ‘grace’ refers to the power Abba has given in striving to obey and live by virtue and not by instinct (Romans 1:5). May we avail ourselves of that grace always that as Messiah was to us the image of the Father, we may also show Messiah to this straying world.