The book of Nahum ends with a rhetorical question regarding the reason for Nineveh’s coming destruction: “Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?” The statement “Nothing can heal your wound” indicates that Nineveh’s sin was unforgivable. Does this principle apply to individuals? Is there a point at which we can no longer be forgiven?
The question in this verse highlights the atrocities that Nineveh was guilty of. When God says that their “injury is fatal,” He is stressing the certainty of their demise. Nineveh will reap what they have sown (Galatians 6:7).
However, it’s important to remember that God had previously shown mercy to Nineveh when its people repented. In 760 B.C., about a century before Nahum’s prophecy, Jonah preached that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days (Jonah 3:4). What happened? The people turned from their sin: “And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them” (Jonah 3:5). God spared the Nineveh of Jonah’s day, but the Nineveh of Nahum’s day rejected any opportunity they had to repent.
The Bible contains many examples of God’s compassion on those willing to trust Him and repent of their sin. Luke 15 offers three illustrations of God’s desire to redeem the lost: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In each case, the Lord rejoices over the one who comes to Him.
God offers forgiveness to all who will ask it of Him (Isaiah 1:18). First John 1:8-9 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It is those who claim to be sinless or who refuse to ask for forgiveness who miss out on God’s cleansing.
The night before Jesus died on the cross, He shared a meal with His followers. At that time, “He took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:27-28). God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die on the cross to provide forgiveness for our sins (John 3:16).
The only point at which it is too late to be forgiven is the point of death. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” At death, believers in Christ will spend eternity with Him. Unbelievers, who have rejected God’s offer of forgiveness, will have no more opportunities to change their minds. That is why 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Now is the day of salvation.”