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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Complex v Simple!

This evening, as a candidate in the forthcoming Local Council elections, I attended a meeting in Motherwell Civic Centre at which, among other things, the method of calculating the results of the election, using the STV (Single Transferable Vote) system was explained!

I had not realised just how complex it is!  First of all, a "quota" must be established by calculating the number of valid votes (plus 1) and dividing that number by the number of seats available (plus 1).  Any candidate with a higher number of votes than the quota is automatically elected.  Then the fun really begins!  The "transfer value of surplus votes" is calculated by dividing the number of votes, more than the quota (plus 1) by the number of votes given to the candidate already elected as first choice.  This number is then used to calculate the additional votes given to the remaining candidates.  And so it continues until the appropriate number of candidates have been elected.  And that is the system somewhat simplified!!  It would appear that a First Class Honours degree in Mathematics is almost a prerequisite for Returning Officers!

As I listened, I couldn't help thinking that if the Gospel message of salvation, by the grace of God, through faith in the Lord Jesus, was as complex, then very few would be saved!  How wonderful, then, that although the Christian Gospel is capable of keeping the finest minds that mankind can produce busy in its profundity; it is also, in its essence, so simple that even a little child may understand.

How simple is it?  As simple as ABC!  I need to Admit that I am a sinner, totally incapable of keeping God's law - indeed, totally incapable of maintaining even the standards that I set for myself!  I then need to Believe that God, in Christ, has already paid the penalty for my sin.  As the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, was inspired to write: "... He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed." (Isa 53:5; RSV, my emphases). 

Admit; Believe; and then I need to Confess.  I confess my sin, and my sinfulness, before Him; and I repent (i.e. turn away from it).  I also confess Him before others - telling them of the salvation that I have experienced through Him.

The results of the Council elections will, I have been assured, be expertly counted (mostly by machines!).  I'm glad about that!  But I am thrilled to to be able to sing:
"The old, old, story it is ever new; the old, old, story, praise the Lord, 'tis true;
that Jesus died for me as well as you.  I love the old, old, story"

And I don't need any degree at all to understand that!

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