2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Notice that Paul is talking about mortality being swallowed up of life, of the earnest of the Spirit, of being absent from the body and present with the Lord.
Therefore, the overall characteristic of the Judgment Seat of Christ is that it is not a place of judging whether the person is saved or not, but of assessing what the person has done while in the body.
In other words, it is not a place for judgment of sin, which, for believers, has already been judged at the Cross of Calvary.
Rather, it is a place for judgment of works.
The “terror of the Lord” therefore, is the wholesome fear of loss of reward, not of loss of salvation.
Elsewhere Paul talks of suffering loss, yet being saved, yet so as by fire.
1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The trial by fire is the trial at the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Bema of Christ.
(It has nothing to do with the “fires of Purgatory”, for the souls burning in which the Roman Catholic Church offers Masses, to expiate their sins.)