That's basically it. Before the foundation of the world, before man even existed. God ordained. He ordained all things. These choices were based solely on the basis of His own will, independent of any outside forces, influenced only by His own personal desires.
I. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;
Specifically, as it relates to free will*, this means that He did not have to look down the hallways of time to see who would freely* choose Him and then decide to save them, but He decided to save people and then decided they would have faith. Our faith is conditioned on our salvation, not the other way around.
*Note: If you think about it, "free" will doesn't actually exist if this is true, at least, not a will that's free from God.
For the most part, everyone agrees that God is sovereign over everyone. It just depends on what they mean by "sovereign." By sovereign in this context, I mean that every single molecule in the entire universe is not only held created by God and held together by God, but it plots a course through space (and time!) exactly in accordance to God's plan. There are no rogue molecules in God's creation. Every single thing in this universe, every thought, every molecule, every action, all orchestrated and planned ahead by a sovereign God.
Now, before I go and defend the doctrine in a future post, I want to address one thing-
For many people, this is a doctrine of revulsion. A doctrine that terrifies. A doctrine that people hate. Why would a loving God take so much control? That would make us robots! It's all hopeless! But I think if we really think about it, this is a doctrine, that if embraced, we cherish.
For God is not capricious or whimsical. He is not random or spiteful. Rather, God is of order, of stability, of truth and light. Not only that, but God is a God of love, compassion, and mercy. His sovereignty for His children means that every action, every thought, every molecule, tends
for the His glory and their good. Even when we mess up, even when other people mess up (really bad, I'm thinking of the recent shootings at VTech), we can know that this doesn't take God by surprise. That actually, He planned it before the foundation of the world for our good and His glory. Even when I fall, even when I sin, and sin I do, I can trust that it was actually better (in that occasion, in an objective sense) for me to sin than to do good, because God has chosen the best route possible to accomplish His ends.
God's sovereignty gives us the ground behind such promises as Romans 8:28 and 1 Peter 1:3-5.
28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Next post on TULIP I'll give the scriptural argument behind it.