Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The Prophet Isaiah speaks of casting up a highway and lifting up a standard for the people. Isaiah 62:10 says, “Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.” Prior to this exhortation he mentions the highway as the highway of holiness in Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Holiness is not only God’s nature but also a standard, a highway, and a way of living life on Earth above the pollution of sin, darkness, and evil. When God created Adam and Eve in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26, 27) their spiritual nature was righteous (morally blameless/measuring up to God’s standard of moral perfection) and holy (sinless; pure; set apart for God). This holiness and righteousness was lost in their fall into sin.
God’s goal in redemption was to restore both righteousness and holiness within man’s nature which is what we become as new creations in Christ Ephesians 4:24. This was the main reason for His grace which accomplished what we could never do on our own. God’s nature is holy and His nature did not change under grace or in the New Covenant. The Cross didn’t change God’s nature. God’s goal is still holiness which is now made possible by God’s empowering grace. Ephesians 1:4 says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”
As the great preacher Charles Spurgeon said, “Holiness is not the way to Christ, but Christ is the way to holiness.” The true teachings of grace should emphasize holiness that is made possible by grace but sadly this isn’t always the case. Some portray grace as a change in God’s standard, that there is no standard, or that the high holy moral standards of God have been adapted down. This is a perversion of grace and not the true grace of God. The modern day responses to God’s high holy character, nature, and standards will not lead to liberty and life.
Saying there is no standard, adapting down the standard, or changing the standard of Gods righteous holy nature are not Biblical responses or options that God intended us to take. Part of our answer lies in understanding mercy along with holiness. As grace does not change the standard but helps us to meet the standard so mercy helps us when we fail to measure up to it. His throne, the seat of His authority, makes both grace and mercy available Hebrews 4:16. Grace, mercy, and holiness need understood together. His mercy allows us to keep reaching for His high holy standard in our actual behavior and daily living. God’s throne of grace is where we can find grace to help but also where we can obtain mercy. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” His mercy endures forever.